AMERICAâ€™S BOOK REVIEW
We talk to the author of Free Food for Millionaires about her absorbing and epic second novel. [see page 14]
Great Books Gaining the High Ground over Evolutionism
The Crossroads of Space and Time
Robert J. O’Keefe
Charles & Irene Nickerson
www.iuniverse.com 978-1-4759-4964-3 | Hardback | $27.95 978-1-4759-4962-9 | Paperback | $17.95 978-1-4759-4963-6 | E-book | $3.99
www.xlibris.com 978-1-5035-4357-7 | Paperback | $19.99 978-1-5035-4356-0 | E-book | $3.99
Author Robert J. O'Keefe investigates a philosophical problem with a history--how what began as a stipulation of scientiﬁc inquiry ended up as a conclusion.
Tiberius Maxumus and his new partner are sent on a mission that will lead them into danger in The Crossroads of Space and Time.
Addiction to Religion
Dust on a Bowl of Roses
Mahfooz Kanwar, Ph.D.
www.xlibris.com 978-1-5035-6806-8 | Hardback | $34.99 978-1-5035-6807-5 | Paperback | $23.99 978-1-5035-6808-2 | E-book | $3.99 Provides commentary on the role and dangers of religion to society and a cautionary tale of the dangers that can happen when this institution is misconstrued or abused.
www.trafford.com 978-1-4907-6622-5 | Hardback | $23.33 978-1-4907-6620-1 | Paperback | $13.33 978-1-4907-6621-8 | E-book | $5.99
The Color Of Pain
Melisa E. Arnold www.xlibris.com 978-1-5144-1212-1 | Hardback | $29.99 978-1-5144-1211-4 | Paperback | $19.99 978-1-5144-1210-7 | E-book | $3.99
Robert Finch www.xlibris.com 978-1-5245-0073-3 | Hardback | $34.99 978-1-5245-0072-6 | Paperback | $23.99 978-1-5245-0071-9 | E-book | $3.99
A young Belizean boy, Alex, seeks the meaning of love as he's raised in a home where he experiences his mother's brand of painful love.
There are a great variety of objectives that shape our evolution. Great Objectives discusses the methods of arriving at such plans.
A widowed middle-aged woman returns to her native England after years abroad to ﬁnd a changed country and a body in a garden.
Kitty Capers and More LaVera Edick www.trafford.com 978-1-4907-6651-5 | Paperback | $26.22 978-1-4907-6652-2 | E-book | $3.99
A Ferret's Tale M. J. Abrams
Artist LaVera Edick shares tales that celebrate the special bonds people have with pets. Edick also shares paintings of animals based on vintage family photos.
Readers will ﬁnd humor, fun, mystery, suspense and unexpected drama in Chubby Wubbles, which follows a friendship between a young man and a mischievous ferret.
The Saga of Moby Beast
Pilgrimage to Crete
Or The Redemption Of Sir Robert Norrie Charles www.xlibris.co.nz 978-1-4931-9180-2 | Hardback | $51.77 978-1-4931-3818-0 | Paperback | $34.51 978-1-4931-3819-7 | E-book | $4.99
Let the adventure begin as The Saga of Moby Beast frolics through a world of poetry, mystery, and imagination. Join this extraordinary and exciting journey!
www.trafford.com 978-1-4120-7294-6 | Paperback | $12.95 978-1-4669-7177-6 | E-book | $3.99
W.E. Welbourne www.xlibris.com.au 978-1-5144-9606-0 | Hardback | $68.54 978-1-5144-9604-6 | Paperback | $52.41 978-1-5144-9605-3 | E-book | $4.99 Pilgrimage To Crete follows the wartime exploits of author W.E. Welbourne’s Uncle Arthur from his capture in 1941 until his escape in 1945.
columns 04 04 05 06 08 10 12 13
Lifestyles Cooking The Hold List Whodunit Well Read Romance Audio Book Clubs
Min Jin Lee explores the Korean-Japanese experience throughout four generations in her aching historical novel, Pachinko. Min Jin Lee author photo by Elena Seibert Cover image © Nikelser istockphoto.com
features 16 17 18 25 29
on the cover
Arthur and Sherlock by Michael Sims
t o p p i c k : This Is How It Always Is
Relationships Sarah Pinborough Beverly Louise Brown Black history Ibi Zoboi
Disaster Falls by Stéphane Gerson
by Laurie Frankel
Rise by Cara Brookins
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso A Separation by Katie Kitamura All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Hit Makers by Derek Thompson
t o p p i c k : At the Edge of the
Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
meet the author
City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy
11 Lori Foster
The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
The Patriots by Sana Krasikov
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Autumn by Ali Smith The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
Make America Kind Again!
The Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates
t o p p i c k : Train I Ride
t o p p i c k : A Really Good Day
by Ayelet Waldman Once We Were Sisters by Sheila Kohler Cannibalism by Bill Schutt Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli
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These stories of everyday heroes, hope, compassion, and community are the very essence of Chicken Soup for the Soul and just what we all need these days.
100% made in the USA $14.95
All material © 2017 ProMotion, inc.
B Y S U S A N N A H F E LT S
BY SYBIL PRATT
Feeling the love buzz
It’s February. It’s cold and gray. What better time to “pause, play, discover, rediscover, encourage, and enrich the enchantment that is love,” writes Stephanie L. Tourles in the introduction to Making Love Potions (Storey, $16.95, 192 pages, ISBN 9781612125725). Filled with bright watercolor illustrations, her collection of 64 recipes for herbal concoctions to please the whole body has something for
Molly Gilbert is a fervent believer in the power of one—one pan, that is. In her first cookbook, Sheet Pan Suppers, she showed us the practical pleasures of cooking an entire meal on a sheet pan. Now, in slightly more expansive mode, Gilbert moves on. One Pan & Done (Potter, $17.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9781101906453) also includes trusted kitchen allies such as a Dutch oven, a seasoned skillet,
everyone—from Sip ’n’ Kiss Tea, a unique “sensory delight” that can also soothe a sore throat; to Cocoa-Chai Kiss ’n’ Make Up lip butter and numerous massage oils, body butters and balms. Many of the mixtures are formulated with easy-to-find ingredients like cocoa butter and coconut oil, and Tourles provides helpful info on essential oils and base oils, along with where-to-buy resources. I’m ready to invite girlfriends over for a “Galentine’s” potion-making party: We’ll sip Lime-Mint Fizz with Cranberry Ice (made with champagne), eat Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Turtles and whip up a bevy of treats to take home. Insert heart-eyes emoji here!
WHAT IS HYGGE? First, let’s clear something up: The Nordic ethos of hygge (pronounced “hue-gah”) is not just about how to live happily through the darkest winter months. Maybe you knew that, but I didn’t. I understood that the word meant a “feeling of cosiness,” but there’s more. Hygge is about “being sociable and looking outward; it’s about taking pleasure in the simple things in life, in fellowship with kith and kin,” writes Signe Johansen in How to Hygge (St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99, 192 pages, ISBN 9781250122032). Johansen clearly
lays out the many characteristics of Nordic living, emphasizing minimalism and time spent outdoors. After all, you’ll enjoy a cardamom twist and mug of joe all the more if you’ve gone for a brisk walk beforehand, right? Such a coffee break with friends is known as “fika” in Sweden, and Johansen outlines the benefits of daily breaks from work and serves up a chapter full of appropriate sweets. Other sections include savory recipes, elements of Nordic design, tips for decorating and ideas for greater self-reliance.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES The celebrated home-design glossy domino is back—in both print magazine and book form. And what a pretty-in-pink (with butterflies!) thing this book is, indeed. In domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home (Simon & Schuster, $35, 224 pages, ISBN 9781501151873), editors Jessica Romm Perez and Shani Silver help readers discover a sense of personal style through chapters focused on seating, walls, art, flooring, shelves and vignettes, lighting and so on. These chapters are organized into three sections: an opening array of inspiring images, a “handbook” to explain the basics (look no further for a primer on shelf styles, light fixtures or types of upholstery) and “style school.” Each packs in a wealth of information, but there’s no feeling of overload as you turn the pages. The images here do a great job of teaching by example and are paired with truly useful, not fluffy, text. This is an incredibly practical book that also manages to be beautiful.
a glass baking dish, muffin tins and loaf pans. Her goal here is the same—to offer a sensible, simple and satisfying selection of fussfree, hands-off recipes and meals brought from oven to table in one pan or pot. In other words, maximum ease, minimal cleanup and heady, oven-induced flavors—who wouldn’t want that? Make Herby Egg & Blue Cheese Soufflés in a muffin tin for breakfast and Apple Slice Tuna Melts on a sheet pan for lunch. Need an elegant appetizer? Artichoke Gratin in a cast-iron skillet is the answer. Portobello & Black Bean Chili in a Dutch oven is a wonderful vegetarian main. Omnivores can feast on Turkey Parm Meatballs with Polenta and Seared Steak with Balsamic Burst Tomatoes. For a sweet finale, go for the Skillet Brownie Sundae. There’s nothing to lose but muss and fuss.
I’M CRAZY PHO YOU Getting into the pho spirit may be just the thing for the winter doldrums. Pho, a delicious combination of clear broth, rice noodles, meat and an array of garnishes, is the signature dish of Vietnam and its most beloved culinary export. Its origins are uncertain, but, as Andrea Nguyen, the author of The Pho Cookbook (Ten Speed, $22, 168 pages, ISBN 9781607749585), says, “it was genius make-do cook-
ing” that’s ever-evolving and attracting more and more fans. With Nguyen’s assistance, you can make comforting, steamy pho in your own kitchen. She begins with foundational recipes, from Quick Chicken Pho to Saigon-Style Beef Pho, and then encourages you to experiment. Try Chicken Pho Noodle Salad or Pho Fried Rice. Jazz up your pho bowls with Beef Meatballs, Pan-Seared Tofu, goodies from a Garnish Plate, Homemade Hoisin Sauce and zippy Ginger Dipping Sauce. Then add a few “sidekicks” like Cashew, Coconut and Cabbage Salad or Pickled Bean Sprouts. Go pho it!
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS Chocolate Whoopie Hearts for Valentine’s Day, Irish Whiskey Brownies for St. Patrick’s Day, orange-scented Bunny Buns for Easter, Dark Chocolate Cherry Loaf to welcome new neighbors, almond-tipped Witchy Fingers for Halloween, a truly wonderful (and edible) Christmas fruitcake . . . these are only a few of the irresistible treasures in Butter Celebrates! Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions (Knopf, $35, 272 pages, ISBN 9780451493873), Rosie Daykin’s lusciously illustrated new collection of over 100 recipes from Butter Baked Goods, her successful Vancouver bakery. Passionate about baking since she was a small girl, Daykin is also passionate about celebrations and the baked goods that enrich them. Whether you decide to bake the eccentrically elaborate Double Decker Éclairs or the stress-free Strawberry Basil Galette, Daykin’s directions are thorough and supportive—exactly what you need for a triumph every time.
THE HOLD LIST
Top book club picks for
In this new feature, BookPage editors share curated lists of the best books—old and new—on a variety of subjects. Feed your TBR!
For fans of unpredictable characters
Grumpy old men
THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON
The titular hero of A Man Called Ove has been pushing his cranky way into the hearts of American readers since 2014. The lonely Swedish curmudgeon doesn’t have much to live for after his wife’s death—until his lively new neighbors show up with some ideas. If you fell for Ove, these books featuring elderly heroes have a shot at winning your heart.
Yasmin Doner is a social misfit at her high school, yearning for simple companionship. But nobody expects her to find it in a stranger who isn’t what he seems…or is he?
NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT by Derek B. Miller Sheldon Horowitz is one tough cookie. He’s survived the loss of his wife and son, and he was a sniper in the Korean war . . . or was he? His granddaughter is dubious; after all, Sheldon didn’t talk about his wartime experiences until he began to experience dementia symptoms. But when tragedy strikes in the neighboring apartment, Sheldon must call on his survival skills to save a young boy. Part thriller, part family story and all heart, this novel is as unique as its prickly hero.
THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY by Walter Mosley Best known for his mystery novels, Mosley takes a turn to literary fiction in this poignant story of an old man’s final days. Ptolemy Grey has forgotten most of his past—until a new caregiver comes into his life. Like the neighbor who re-energizes Ove, Robyn shakes up Ptolemy’s world, introducing him to a treatment that allows him to reclaim his memories as they build a life-changing friendship.
For fans of bestselling psychological thrillers DON’T YOU CRY Mary Kubica An electrifying tale of deceit and obsession unfolds after a young woman disappears from her Chicago apartment without a trace.
For fans of heartwarming tales of adventure
THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER
OUR SOULS AT NIGHT by Kent Haruf Louis Waters is a much kinder, gentler soul than Ove, but he’s just as stubborn. After all, he won’t give up his late-in-life romance with his neighbor Addie Moore, even though the whole town (and their adult children) disapprove. A story that plumbs the mystery and power of human connection, this elegaic and tender novel—Haruf’s last—will linger.
OLD FILTH by Jane Gardam
A beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery in which an enduring widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.
For fans of relatable and universal stories
Sir Edward Feathers—known as “Old Filth,” thanks to the midcentury acronym for “Failed in London, try Hong Kong”—looks back on a privileged and eventful life in Gardam’s award-winning 12th novel. Gardam took inspiration from the life of Rudyard Kipling to create her protagonist, an orphan of the British Raj. Despite his many flaws, or perhaps because of them, Sir Edward comes across as a fully realized character.
THE LIFE SHE WANTS Robyn Carr
THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER by Phaedra Patrick This picaresque debut also stars a widower who feels at loose ends after his wife’s death, although Arthur Pepper is decidedly more positive-thinking than Ove. Arthur and his wife, Miriam, enjoyed a long and happy marriage. But when he discovers a charm bracelet among her belongings, he sets out to discover the times, people and places that the charms symbolize—and reveals a very different version of his wife.
A poignant novel that will leave you laughing and crying as two friends confront their pasts and move toward their futures.
Do we have a story for you!
5 16_484_BookPage_BookClubbish_Feb.indd 1
2016-12-09 10:19 AM
WHODUNIT BY BRUCE TIERNEY
A chilly Icelandic mystery with hints of Agatha Christie Yes, yes, another clever Scandinavian mystery novel. Can’t those folks ever sit down and write an awful book? If Ragnar Jonasson’s Snowblind (Minotaur, $25.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9781250096074) is any indication, the answer is no. The novel is set in the tiny, north coast town of Siglufjörður, Iceland, a place as remote as it is difficult to pronounce. In the beginning, nobody in Siglufjörður locks his or her doors; by the time the book is halfway done, everybody does. Not that it will help much as the bodies begin to pile up in the newly crimson snow. If the book has overtones of Agatha Christie’s works, that should come as no surprise, because before embarking on a writing career of his own, Jonasson translated 14 of Christie’s books into his native Icelandic. And Snowblind definitely has the classic red herrings, plot twists and surprises that characterize the best
of Christie’s work. Jonasson’s latest is nicely done and simply begs for a sequel.
NOT TO BE IGNORED John Lescroart, in a major diversion from his Dismas Hardy
murder of a young woman, for which there is a likely guilty suspect but no evident motive. These two disparate cases weave together, their major common factor being Gus Murphy and his dogged determination to seek out the truth.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
l egal-beagle series, lures readers into a whirlpool of obsession, revenge and murder with his standalone thriller, Fatal (Atria, $26.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781501115677). It starts out simply enough, with a visceral chemical attraction between two married people—
the problem being that they’re not married to each other. At the outset, Kate is the spider and Peter is the willing fly. But as time goes by, his desire for her begins to take over his every waking moment. Peter’s work suffers, his marriage
inevitably suffers and his relationships with friends and associates begin to sour. But this all gets resolved fairly quickly—with his violent death. The suspect list is long and varied: his eldest son, who purchased an unregistered handgun; his put-upon wife; his erstwhile paramour; his paramour’s jealous husband; the love-struck secretary—and I am just scratching the surface here. Rendered every bit as well as you’d expect from such an experienced storyteller, this is a book you will want to finish in one sitting.
TROUBLES WILL FOLLOW Undoubtedly, I am not the first to compare Reed Farrel Coleman’s writing to that of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, and I suspect that I won’t be the last. Coleman’s protagonist, ex-cop Gus Murphy, is given to grim humors and is introspective almost to a fault, giving him a world-weary, bleary-eyed take on life, so similar to Hammett and Chandler’s delightfully flawed characters. What You Break (Putnam, $27, 368 pages, ISBN 9780399173042) finds Murphy at odds with his memories, his ex-wife and the Russian mob. On a whim, he follows a friend he believes may be in danger, and scant minutes later, he watches the gangland execution of an unsavory-looking character. Meanwhile, he has reluctantly accepted the highly remunerative work of looking into the stabbing
Hideo Yokoyama’s Six Four (FSG, $28, 576 pages, ISBN 9780374265519), translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies, is by no means just another mystery novel, but rather an award-winning cultural phenomenon on the scale of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. In its first week on sale in Japan, more than 1 million copies of Six Four were sold. The book went on to make its way solidly into the bestseller list in the U.K. All of that to say, there is a lot of buzz around this book, all of it well deserved. The story takes place in Prefecture P, a nonexistent Japanese city. The mystery has its roots in a crime that took place in the 1980s. A 7-year-old girl was kidnapped, and years later, the abduction and subsequent death of the child remains unsolved, a serious “loss of face” for the Prefecture P police department. The reinvestigation into the case falls to an unlikely candidate, Yoshinobu Mikami, for whom the case has a particular resonance: Mikami’s own daughter has gone missing, and the poignant similarities between the cases are not lost on the canny detective. Further complicating matters is the internecine warfare between the administrative and investigative components of the police department. Each has an axe to grind, with both axes hanging directly over Mikami’s outstretched neck. Yokoyama’s prose is crisp and skillfully translated; the plot, while complicated, is thoroughly believable and compelling. This is a major book, one that will stay in your mind well after you have turned the last page.
WELL READ BY ROBERT WEIBEZAHL
Somewhere my love
The Book Case Blog Keep up with reading suggestions from our editors, guest posts from our favorite authors, best-of lists, literary news and more. bookpage.com
Boris Pasternak’s masterwork, Doctor Zhivago, had a tortured history in Russia, where the Soviet powers suppressed its publication and vilified its writer. This censorship backfired when the manuscript was smuggled out of the country, published first in Italy and subsequently throughout the West, and Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize that had long eluded him. David Lean’s exquisite film of the novel brought the story to an even wider audience, and the cinematic portrayals of Zhivago and Lara by a soulful Omar Sharif and luminous Julie Christie enshrined those characters in the pantheon of great literary lovers. Still, few know the story of the real woman who inspired Lara— Pasternak’s mistress and muse, Olga I vinskaya—in no small part because after Pasternak’s death, his widow and son deliberately downplayed her role in the writer’s life. The official version maligned Olga as a wanton opportunist. The late author’s great-niece, Anna Pasternak, at last sets the record straight in Lara (Ecco, $27.99, 320 pages, ISBN 9780062439345). In a thoroughly researched and beautifully written account (she did not know her uncle, but had singular access to the family archives), the younger Pasternak probes the relationship between Boris and Olga, exploring not only the ways in which Olga was Lara, but also the high price she paid for her love of this complicated genius. Boris and Olga met when he was already middle-aged and married to his second wife, Zinaida, who seemed to relish her role as the wife of a famous writer, even if she barely understood his work. Twenty years younger, Olga had already been twice married and twice widowed (her first husband hanged himself). Olga had her own literary aspirations as a translator, and
from their first meeting, there was an immediate connection between the pair. Pasternak had just begun working on Doctor Zhivago, and Olga, transmuted into Lara, soon took center stage not only in the narrative, but also in the high drama that would surround the book. The Soviets were well aware that Pasternak was working on a novel that was rumored to shed a less than flattering light on the Bolshevik revolution. As one of the nation’s most revered poets, however, he was largely bulletproof. Instead, the authorities tried to silence the writer by going after the woman he loved. Olga was tried and sentenced to a labor camp. After her release, she stoically moved to a small cottage a mile from Pasternak’s own, and he commenced a double life, splitting his time between his two families. When the chaos over Doctor Zhivago erupted, Olga once again became an unwitting tool of the government in its attempts to bring down A portrait of Pasternak. After his death, the real-life without the romance protection of that inspired his name, she was again tried Doctor on trumped up Zhivago. charges and sent to a labor camp. Her only real crime, as this book shows, was that she loved Pasternak with a fierce blindness. Anna Pasternak paints her great uncle as a man of undeniable talent and intellect, but also dangerous shortcomings—“both hero and coward, genius and naïve fool, tortured neurotic and clinical strategist.” His love for Olga was genuine, but not without its selfishness. Olga’s loyalty was unyielding, and she would suffer gravely for her steadfastness. Lara tells a heartbreaking love story, a tragedy in some ways as compelling as the classic its real-life protagonists inspired.
S w e e p s ta k e s
f or a C h a n c e t o Wi n ! Grand Prize:
An Aster cedar hope chest
($140 value; full assembly required), charm, vintage ornament, blanket, paperback copy of The Charm Bracelet, and hardcover copy of The Hope Chest. Enter at www.BookPage.com/contests. Contest is open from 12:00am February 1, 2017 to 11:59pm February 28, 2017.
i n s p i re d by V I O LA SH I PM A N’s h e a rt f e lt n e w n ov e l
now i n pa per bac k The critically-acclaimed debut called “heartfelt” by Adriana Trigiani
Three people who have lost a part of themselves. One woman’s heirloom hope chest, rediscovered. As the heart heals, hope finds its way home.
978-1-250-10507-3 · HARDCOVER · $25.99
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. who are age 18 or older and of the legal age of majority. Entry period begins at 12:00 AM (ET) on February 1, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on February 28, 2017. Void where prohibited. For full Official Rules, visit www.BookPage.com/contests. Sponsored by St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.
And don’t miss Jessica Strawser’s debut novel Almost Missed You!
ROMANCE B Y C H R I S T I E R I D G WAY
A HEART AT STAKE
Cupid hits the lovey-dovey jackpot
t’s the most wonderful time of the year—for romance readers, that is! Here are five romance novels that are perfect for celebrating the spirit of Valentine’s Day. We suggest cozying up with a hot mug of tea (or perhaps a glass of wine), a box of chocolates and one of these passionate and alluring tales.
Old friends become much more in One More Kiss (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781492616405) by Samantha Chase. After an embarrassing professional failure, rock star Matt Reed returns to his hometown in North Carolina and the privacy of his best friend’s secure estate. Though he wants to hide from unwelcome press attention and halt his nosedive in self-confidence, he can’t keep away from Vivienne Forrester, his best friend’s little sister. Vivienne lives in the nearby guesthouse, and soon they’re sharing meals and secrets—except for a very important one. Vivienne doesn’t want Matt to know of her longtime crush on him nor remind him of the kiss they once shared that he seems to have forgotten. However, more kisses are on the way, and their relationship gets serious. But if Matt is able to rebuild his confidence and return to touring with his band, where does that leave Vivienne, who is entrenched in her cozy corner of the world? Can the homebody and the rock star find a way to a happily ever after? This is the first book in the Shaughnessy: Band on the Run series, and it’s a tender and touching romance about trust, compromise and second chances.
SETTING SAIL Suzanne Woods Fisher sets a richly detailed stage in the latest in her Amish Beginnings series,
The Newcomer (Revell, $15.99, 336 pages, ISBN 9780800727499), which features a group of Amish Germans immigrating to America in the 1700s. During the voyage from Germany to Philadelphia, ship carpenter Bairn Bauer reunites with his Amish family after many years apart. His childhood sweetheart, Anna König, is one of their party, and the two are thrilled to find each other again. Their prospects on the Pennsyl-
vania frontier look bright, but Bairn has increasing doubts about his ability to fit in with his family and their faith following the long separation. He decides to embark on one last sea voyage, putting his relationships with his parents and the woman he loves at risk. What follows is adventure, danger and adversity. Anna must rely on her beliefs and Bairn must come to an understanding of his own in order to ensure a happy relationship between the pair. These good yet flawed characters provide a fascinating insight into the people who bravely left behind the familiar in order to seek new freedoms.
Kelly Bowen’s third book in her A Season for Scandal series, Between the Devil and the Duke (Forever, $5.99, 352 pages, ISBN 9781455563418), tells the story of a lady on the brink of financial ruin who finds a champion in an enigmatic gambling club owner. The disguised Lady Angelique Archer uses her impressive skill with numbers to make money in Alex Lavoie’s gambling establishment in Regency-era London. The mysterious masked woman intrigues Alex, as does her careful play. When he learns her identity and guesses that she has money troubles, he banks his desire for her in order to offer a proposition—that she become one of his vingt-et-un, or blackjack, dealers and they’ll split the house’s profits. Though Alex makes it clear that he doesn’t mix business with pleasure, it doesn’t diminish the simmering sexual tension between them. When deadly danger arrives on Angelique’s doorstep, Alex partners with her to discover the identity of the person trying to harm her family. During the in-
vestigation, love between the pair blossoms into something lasting— but they must survive peril first. There’s adventure and passion on every page in this Regency winner.
A WILD AFFAIR The action never stops thanks to an engaging cast of characters in Wild Horse Springs (HQN, $7.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9780373799275) by Jodi Thomas. A stolen cowboy boot leads lawman Dan Brigman to touring bar singer Brandi Malone. Their instant attraction seems to be heading toward a temporary affair, but Sheriff Dan’s duties get in the way. Dan has his hands full
with things other than the beautiful drifter. His 25-year-old daughter returns home to help a teenager who’s landed in Dan’s jail, and she brings her two suitors along with her. A fire, a knife fight, a gunfight and a missing little girl also take Dan’s attention, but when he finally is able to find private time for Brandi, those hours are magical. Can the couple agree that a quickie, impermanent romance is not enough? The latest in Thomas’ Ransom Canyon series is a rollicking, warmhearted read.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE Historical romance is at its best in Seven Minutes in Heaven (Avon, $7.99, 432 pages, ISBN 9780062389459) by Eloisa James. Edward “Ward” Reeve, the illegitimate son of an earl, is at risk of losing custody of his young half sister and half brother to their harridan of a grandmother. To prove that he’s the best guardian for the pair, he needs an accomplished governess, so he visits the renowned Snowe’s registry service to find a candidate. There, he meets beautiful young widow Eugenia Snowe, and their instant chemistry baffles them both. Though Eugenia is not a governess herself, when the first few governesses fail at their services, she is persuaded to temporarily step in to care for the children. At Ward’s estate, the pair find time to explore their attraction, and they succumb to passion—and then to love. But the difference in social rank may prevent a happy ending for both the couple and the two precocious and engaging children (who surely deserve stories of their own someday!). This one brims with wit and charm.
Q: What’s the title of your new book?
Q: Describe the book in one sentence.
© GROVER PHOTOGRAPHY
meet LORI FOSTER
Sometimes life has other plans… On Second Thought is a pitch-perfect look at two sisters finding courage to start over and believe in second chances.
fly between Leese and Cat almost immediately. What Q: Sparks qualities make them a good match?
eese takes his bodyguard duties seriously. What three things Q: Lwould you be willing to protect at any cost?
Q: Cat is from a wealthy family—how would you spend an unexpected inheritance?
is your all-time favorite love story? Q: What
Q: Words to live by?
UNDER PRESSURE Bestselling author Lori Foster launches an exciting new series with Under Pressure (HQN, $7.99, 480 pages, ISBN 9780373789931). When bodyguard Leese Phelps signs on to protect heiress Cat Nicholson, he soon realizes this is no straightforward assignment. Luckily for Cat, Leese is determined to keep her safe from any threat—even if it comes from the men who hired him. Resisting their feelings for each other, however, may be a more difficult challenge.
“Emotional depth is seared into every page along with wry banter, bringing readers to tears and smiles. Another hit for Higgins.” —Library Journal, starred review PICK UP YOUR COPY TODAY!
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Audiobooks You’ll Love! “An exhilarating adventure story.” —Kirkus (starred review) READ BY HOLTER GRAHAM FOREWORD WRITTEN AND READ BY BOB WOODRUFF
READ BY JOT DAVIES
“Jot Davies’s narration ushers you in.” —AudioFile on A Foreign Country READ BY THE AUTHOR
“An empowering manifesto.” —Soledad O’Brien
READ BY THE AUTHOR
A sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself—a masterpiece.
READ BY CHRISTINA DELAINE
“Unsettling, well-crafted.” —Publishers Weekly “[A] captivating debut ... a story about storytelling, stirring and effective.” —Kirkus
READ BY GEORGE NEWBERN
from Macmillan Audio 12
AUDIO BY SUKEY HOWARD
A puff of white smoke Robert Harris, who has written many brilliant, thoughtful thrillers, has outdone himself with his latest. Conclave (Random House Audio, 8 hours), perfectly narrated by Roy McMillan, takes us into the Sistine Chapel (which becomes the ultimate smokeless smoke-filled room) and the secret intrigues of a papal conclave. Harris’ fictional pope has just died, and 117 cardinals from around the globe plus one unknown newcomer, the Filipino Archbishop-Cardinal of Baghdad, have arrived in Rome to
to figure out the connection, their stories collide and twist in a plot filled with Baldacci bravura, derring-do, near-death experiences and people without morals or remorse. Puller’s brother, last seen in The Escape, lends a helping hand, as does elusive agent Veronica Knox. A master of this genre, Baldacci never fails—his characters are multidimensional, his narrative engaging, energetic and exciting. Narrators Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy select his successor. Overseeing the mirror his intensity. sequestered, politically charged, TOP PICK IN AUDIO deeply divided conclave is Cardinal Lumeli, and we see these men It’s no surprise to find the lyric perception of Bruce Springsteen’s of God, who are not always above songs in his autobiography. And very mortal power plays, through for those of us who’ve seen him his intelligent eyes, trained by perform, it’s not surprising that he years of Vatican service. Tension can keep us enthralled for the 20 and high suspense surround the hours of this extraordinary audio elaborate, richly described rituals of each vote, as hidden revelations version of Born to Run (Simon & Schuster Audio, 20 hours). The about the leading contenders Boss reads his own words. No surface. Harris leaves us with an one else could have; his voice has ending that would knock off the become as iconic as his lyrics. So papal socks. settle in for a long listen and get MISSING FOR 30 YEARS to know how Springsteen thinks John Puller, combat veteran about his life. You’ll also get insight and U.S. Army criminal investiinto how he became who he is and what fuels his epic talent and exugator extraordinaire, makes his fourth foray in No Man’s Land berant performances. With colorful detail and limitless candor, even (Hachette Audio, 11.5 hours), David Baldacci’s latest action-packed, about his bouts of depression, he edge-of-your-seat thriller-diller. begins in working-class Freehold, Puller is pulled back into his moth- New Jersey, with his adoring Italian er’s mysterious disappearance that grandmother, encouraging mother and misanthropic dad, whose occurred 30 years ago when a letter accuses his father, a renowned “power not to love” still shadows three-star general now diminished his life. But in those early days, he by dementia, of murdering her. On also found the single-minded passion for rock ’n’ roll that has made the other side of the country, Paul Rogers, preternaturally strong, all the difference. With amazing fierce and fearless, gets out of pris- narrative skill, Springsteen takes on after 10 years. Both Puller and listeners on an unforgettable jourRogers are headed for the same ney through his next 60 years and town. Though it’s difficult, at first, his awesome career.
BOOK CLUBS BY JULIE HALE
Signs of trouble ahead Kaitlyn Greenidge makes an accomplished debut with the provocative novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin, $15.95, 352 pages, ISBN 9781616206444). Laurel and Charles Freeman and their daughters, Callie and Charlotte, are an African-American family with a remarkable command of sign language. None of the Freemans are deaf, but they picked up signing from Laurel, who learned to communicate with her hands during her childhood in Maine. In 1990, the Freemans are enlisted by
the Toneybee Institute, a research facility in Massachusetts, to foster a chimpanzee named Charlie and teach him to communicate. Shifting back and forth in time, the novel is narrated by various characters, but Charlotte tells most of the story. A teenager who’s coming to grips with her sexuality, Charlotte discovers that the institute has an alarming history, and that its interest in her family isn’t quite what it seems. Greenidge’s timely exploration of race and precise observations of family dynamics will give book clubs rich topics for discussion. A visionary first novel, this marks the arrival of a major new talent.
WORKING-CLASS HEROES In the wonderfully engaging Everybody’s Fool (Vintage, $16.95, 544 pages, ISBN 9780307454829), Richard Russo continues the story of Donald “Sully” Sullivan and the residents of North Bath, New York. Ten years have passed since the events recounted in Nobody’s Fool (1993), and time has been kind to 70-year-old Sully, whose inheritance and gambling earnings allow him an easy lifestyle. But now he’s
faced with the reality that he only has a couple of years left to live—a fact that he tries to hide from his old flame, Ruth, and his good pal, Rub. A lesser character from the previous book, Doug Raymer, North Bath’s chief of police, plays a major role this time around. Raymer gets wrapped up in a mystery involving the lover of his late wife, even as he and Sully grapple with the reappearance of bully Roy Purdy. Russo writes with humor and compassion about the working class, and he continues to be a wonderful stylist. His many fans will cheer the return of Sully and friends.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS Samantha Hunt’s eerie, acclaimed novel, Mr. Splitfoot (Mariner, $14.95, 352 pages, ISBN 9780544811812), is the story of two teens brought up in a cult-like orphanage. At the Love of Christ! Foster Home, Ruth is drawn to Nat, who has the ability to communicate with the dead. With the help of the conniving Mr. Bell, Nat uses his otherworldly abilities to turn a profit. The novel moves into the future to take up the story of Ruth’s niece, Cora, who gets pregnant by mistake. When Ruth—now mute—enters Cora’s life, the two women set out on a life-changing quest on foot. Hunt deftly balances the unsettling story of Ruth and Nat with that of Cora and the journey, and the two compelling narrative strands illuminate one another. The result is a one-of-a-kind thriller—a mesmerizing blend of mystery and fairy tale that readers won’t soon forget.
New Book Club Reads for the New Year
The Dressmaker’s Dowry by Meredith Jaeger
“This deliciously satisfying tale of love and resilience ... sweeps us into nineteenth century San Francisco, painting harrowing images of poverty alongside excesses of wealth, weaving a multi-generational novel impossible to put down.” — Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author
This is Not Over by Holly Brown
“This is Not Over moves with the unstoppable force of a runaway train. This is storytelling at its best.” — Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author
The Runaway Midwife
by Patricia Harman “From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote island in Lake Erie, The Runaway Midwife takes us on a journey from loss, grief and guilt to one of love, forgiveness and redemption.” — New York Times bestselling author Mary McNear
The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante
“Galante’s gift for storytelling lies in her ability to find the extraordinary within the ordinary. Readers will fall in love with her unforgettably complex protagonist, Bird, along with the overall authenticity of her prose.” — Emily Liebert, bestselling author of Some Women
Book Club Girl
MIN JIN LEE
Exploring the hidden history of Korean immigrants in Japan
© ELENA SEIBERT
INTERVIEW BY ADAM MORGAN
eading Pachinko is like binge-watching every season of an HBO series. Instead of capturing a single time and place, Min Jin Lee’s heartbreaking historical novel spans the entire 20th century through four generations, three wars and two countries with a troubled past. A moving and powerful account of one of the world’s most persecuted immigrant communities—Koreans living in Japan—it may be remembered as one of the best books of the year.
But here’s a secret: Lee almost abandoned Pachinko after the first draft. Twenty years ago, she quit her job as a corporate lawyer to become a writer. It didn’t go well. “I wrote a dreadful manuscript with a pretentious title that was never inflicted upon innocent readers,” Lee says. Her second attempt didn’t go much better, but her third attempt at fiction, Free Food for Millionaires, was published to universal acclaim in 2007. And yet, Lee couldn’t stop thinking about her abandoned second novel, the one that would eventually become Pachinko. While Free Food for Millionaires focused on Korean Americans in New York, she still wanted to write about the Korean diaspora in Japan. “The
By Min Jin Lee
Grand Central, $27, 496 pages ISBN 9781455563937, audio, eBook available
fascinating history of the Korean Japanese,” Lee says, “is one of the clearest manifestations of legal, social and cultural exclusion in a modern, well-educated and developed democratic nation.” The first draft of Pachinko was set in Tokyo during the 1980s. But when Lee returned to the manuscript, she realized that she had to go back much further. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea. With the stroke of a pen, every citizen of Korea became a subject of Imperial Japan, and would remain so until Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II. During those 35 years, thousands of Koreans immigrated across the sea to Japan, many of them farmers unable to prove they owned their land. It is these Korean-Japanese immigrants and their descendants— the Zainichi—that Lee wanted to explore in the resurrected novel that became Pachinko. The word Zainichi is Japanese for “staying in Japan temporarily,” which is misleading, since most Korean Japanese are permanent residents and naturalized Japanese citizens. Sadly, Zainichi have suffered decades of oppression in Japan. During World War II, Korean men were forced to fight for Japan while Korean women were kidnapped as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. After the war and throughout the 20th century, Koreans were disenfranchised, excluded from Japanese society and denied equal rights. In fact, Japan didn’t stop fingerprinting Koreans during alien registration procedures until 1993.
“The Zainichi are by definition considered foreign, transient and ‘other’ by many Japanese people,” Lee says. “Moreover, some Korean Japanese, especially children who are traumatically bullied, are seen as other to themselves. I was profoundly disturbed by this idea of being seen as permanently ‘other’ at key stages of one’s psychoThis logical development.” poignant, In 2007, sprawling just after the epic is full release of Free Food for Milof births, lionaires, Lee deaths, and her husmarriages band moved from New York and to Tokyo. betrayals. “The move to Japan was a lucky coincidence for the book, but when I had to let go of the initial draft and start again—buddy, I was not a happy camper,” Lee says. “The field research forced me to throw out the initial manuscript and write a historical novel based primarily on one family.” The result is Pachinko, a poignant, sprawling, multigenerational epic in the same vein as Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, full of births, deaths, marriages and betrayals. Written in light, fluid prose, it begins in the 1880s on the coast of Korea, where a boy with a cleft
palate is born into a small fishing village. Shortly after Japan colonizes his homeland, he marries the daughter of a farmer with the help of a matchmaker. Their own daughter, Sunja, almost brings the family to ruin as a young adult, but a Protestant minister whisks her away to Japan in 1933, where she becomes the matriarch of an extended family. In Osaka, Sunja and her children are subject to bigotry because of their Korean heritage. Through World War II and the fall of the Empire of Japan, Sunja raises two boys with the help of her sister-inlaw. The firstborn studies European literature in college until he learns a shocking family secret. Heartbroken, he moves to Nagano and pretends to be Japanese, eventually joining his brother in the pachinko business, though not in the same parlor, or even the same city. Eventually, Sunja becomes the grandmother of a Tokyo banker who carries the story into the 1980s, a full century after the story began. The novel was initially called Motherland, but Lee changed the title when she came to a realization: “Nearly every Korean-Japanese person I interviewed or researched was somehow related
(either intimately or distantly) to the pachinko business, one of the very few businesses Koreans were allowed to work in or have an ownership interest.” If you’ve ever watched “The Price Is Right,” you’re already familiar with pachinko. It’s essentially a vertical pinball machine, though it was stylized as “plinko” for the game show. “The pachinko business—a multibillion-dollar industry with double the export revenues of the Japanese automobile industry—is often viewed with great suspicion and contempt by middle-class Japanese,” Lee says. “However, one out of every 11 Japanese adults plays pachinko regularly, and there is at least one pachinko parlor in every train station and shopping street in Japan. Pachinko is a game of chance and manipulation, and I was interested in this gambling business as a metaphor.” Like a pachinko ball, Sunja careens through the 20th century as a daughter, a wife, a mother and finally a grandmother. “It took so much of my life to write this novel, and even though the work and the waiting was its own trial, I have to acknowledge that it was helpful to age along with the book because I had the opportunity to encounter and learn as many different perspectives as possible,” Lee says. And while Pachinko takes place on the other side of the globe, it should be required reading for Americans in 2017. “The recent presidential election has demonstrated a deeply divided nation, but what is even more troubling to me is how all the different groups cannot seem to comprehend the views of the others,” Lee says. “In an increasingly polarized world with great economic, educational and socio-cultural disparities, I want to believe that we can turn to narratives to empathize with all the parties who participate in both inclusion and exclusion.” If you want a book that challenges and expands your perspective, turn to Pachinko. And don’t be intimidated by the page count or the grand scale of the story—in Lee’s deft hands, the pages pass as effortlessly as time.
DAUGHTER. HUNTER. KILLER. She’s on a mission to save her father. Or die trying.
GWENDOLYN BLOOM DOESN’T BELIEVE IN HEROES— UNTIL HER FATHER VANISHES AND SHE MUST BECOME ONE. “A grim, fast- paced tale.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“This debut novel is relentlessly paced, full of global sets, slick action...with a grim, ass-kicking antihero.” —BOOKLIST
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RELATIONSHIPS BY SARAH McCRAW CROW
Challenge the way you think about love
alentine’s Day. If those two words inspire dread rather than desire, take heart; a new crop of books offers advice and wisdom, whether you’re out there looking for The One, long married and bored with your sex life, or downright heartbroken. The qualities that we usually look for in a partner—sense of humor, charisma, beauty, good family, intelligence—are often red flags in disguise, write Michael Bennett, M.D., and Sarah Bennett in F*ck Love: One Shrink’s Sensible Advice for Finding a Lasting Relationship (Touchstone, $19.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9781501140563). Dr. Bennett, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, and his daughter Sarah, a comedy writer, teamed up for a previous book, F*ck Feelings, in which they advised that paying less attention to feelings helps you manage life better. The Bennetts write in an irreverent, sometimes profane style—for instance, each chapter, devoted to a red-flag trait, includes F*ck in its title: “F*ck Beauty,” “F*ck Charisma” and so on. Despite the irreverence, the Bennetts’ advice is sincere and sensible. They explain how and why readers should seek partnership qualities (common goals, shared effort when times get tough) more than the red-flag traits. Though it includes advice for readers in relationships, this book is most useful for those in the dating world.
THE RIGHT MATCH Susan Quilliam’s How to Choose a Partner (Picador, $16, 192 pages, ISBN 9781250078698) covers some of the same material as the Bennetts’ book but takes a quieter, more meditative approach. She
refers to classic novels like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd for anecdotes. A British psychologist, author of 22 books and advice columnist, Quilliam also teaches classes on love and sexuality. “We now approach partner choice with bigger expectations, deeper confusion, and heavier pressure than ever before,” she writes, offering advice on meeting potential partners (aim for a “slow river”: put your energy into groups that offer a steady flow of different people) and what to look for in a partner. Quilliam emphasizes partnership qualities, breaking these down into goals, values and personality traits. The book has a straightforward style, with appealingly quirky illustrations.
SPICE IT UP Sex is the glue of marriage, writes Dr. Kevin Leman, a psychologist and author of more than 50 books about marriage and parenting. In Have a New Sex Life by Friday: Because Your Marriage Can’t Wait Until Monday (Revell, $17.99, 288 pages, ISBN 9780800724139) Leman notes that what happens outside the bedroom affects what happens inside the bedroom, and readers need to consider the different ways that women and men communicate and process emotions. The book follows a five-day structure, considering a different
aspect of sex (why women need sex, why men need sex, get your mother out of the bedroom) each day. This book is not for everyone; Leman writes from a Christian perspective for married, heterosexual couples. That said, his advice on how to talk to your partner about sex, and how to incorporate new sex positions and more “spicy” techniques into your routine, is frank, openhearted and sensible.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOVE Carrie Jenkins’ What Love Is: And What It Could Be (Basic, $26.99, 224 pages, ISBN 9780465098859) is not a self-help book, nor is it a collection of heartwarming essays. Instead, Jenkins aims to come up with a definition of romantic love that suits her as both a philosopher and a human being. A professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Jenkins walks the reader through theories about romantic love past and present, drawing from classical philosophy, science and literature. This might sound dry and academic, but Jenkins adds fun with pop culture references and vivid images. She explains biological arguments (humans fall in love because it leads them to reproduce) and societal arguments (romantic love is a product of social expectations and traditions), and she posits that love has a dual nature. She shows
how our understanding of romantic love has changed over time, and she hopes it will come to include polyamory, because she’s married, with a long-term boyfriend. I wish Jenkins had revealed a little more about her personal life, which she refers to in the book’s prologue: “On the mornings when I walk from my boyfriend’s apartment to the home I share with my husband, I sometimes find myself reflecting on the disconnects between my own experiences with romantic love. . . .” I’d love to know what else she reflects on, as she goes from one partner to another.
HEALING FROM HEARTBREAK Meditation teacher and Buddhist practitioner Lodro Rinzler takes on heartbreak in Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken (Shambhala, $12.95, 184 pages, ISBN 9781611803549). Rinzler offers ancient Buddhist wisdom in a youthful, playful style. The book’s opening lines: “If you’re reading this, you’re probably heartbroken. I mean, why else would you pick up a book about heartbreak? I’m sorry you’re heartbroken.” For this book, Rinzler met with dozens of people who shared their stories of heartbreak, not just romantic heartbreak but all sorts of loss—giving up a child for adoption, losing a parent, losing family members. The book is made up of about 50 short chapters, and Rinzler suggests readers flip to the chapter they need at the moment (“If You Feel Like You Will Never Love Again,” “If You Are Feeling Angry,” “If You Need to Hear a Less Bizarre Joke”). It also offers a primer on mindfulness meditation, and on the concept of love in the Buddhist tradition— which includes loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity—“we include in our heart the people we like, the people we really don’t like, and the vast number of people we have never even met,” Rinzler writes. As to why our hearts break, Rinzler is succinct: “Your heart breaks because life isn’t what you thought it would be.” Love Hurts is a wise, funny companion and a reminder that we can move through loss and beyond it.
SARAH PINBOROUGH I N T E R V I E W B Y J AY MacD O N A L D
Readers, buckle up for the season’s twistiest thriller
ike all powerful over-the-counter drugs, Behind Her Eyes deserves its own warning label. Although you’ve probably never heard of British novelist Sarah Pinborough, trust me: She’s all you’ll be talking about this spring, once you’ve recovered from her mindblowing, genre-bending, breakthrough psychological thriller. To fully savor this Stephen King Carrie-esque moment, avoid any contact with the growing buzz concerning the novel’s ingenious, to-die-for twist. Rest assured, you won’t find spoilers here. Behind Her Eyes opens with a classic love-triangle premise. One night in a pub, Louise, a single mom who works as a secretary at a London psychiatric clinic, meets— and shares a drunken, soul-stirring kiss with—a random bloke named David. On Monday, David turns up at work as her new boss. Awkward. Louise then bumps into a beautiful stranger named Adele on a latte run. Adele is new to town and clearly bestie material, but there’s a small problem: Adele is married to David. Though it may read effortlessly, this story didn’t come easy. Although the novelist and BBC screenwriter already had more than 20 young adult, horror and
BEHIND HER EYES
By Sarah Pinborough
Flatiron, $25.99, 320 pages ISBN 9781250111173, audio, eBook available
thriller novels to her credit, Pinborough drew a complete blank when it came to plotting her big stateside break. “I spent a week panicking about not having an idea, and that this was the biggest opportunity of my career and I was about to flush it down the toilet,” she says. First, she narrowed her plot options to an affair. Then an affair with a secret. But that still felt far too run-of-the-mill for a free-range novelist who eschews genre-fication. “As I was about to give up, I was looking for a coffee shop to work in and they were all busy and I thought, wow, this is never going to work. So I went to the pub and ordered a glass of wine and I immediately got the ending in my head,” Pinborough recalls. That’s right: Behind Her Eyes sprang to life with a twist on that classic opener: “a girl walks into a bar.” Pinborough’s creative breakthrough not only morphed into the setup of the book, it also set the stage for a story told almost entirely through the alternating internal monologues of Adele and Louise. “I’m really fascinated with what we present to the world compared to who we really are,” Pinborough explains. “We’re never truly honest because we’re never presenting our internal selves, which are normally filled with self-loathing, anxiety, worry; all the nasty sides we don’t want to show the world. Everybody has secrets, all the time. Even if they’re not dangerous secrets, we all keep secrets from each other.” Pinborough admits that her surgically precise presentation of each woman’s ongoing internal dialogue, questioning and, ultimately,
devious strategizing surrounding the affair was drawn from her own experience. “I’m going to fess up: I’m a 45-year-old single woman and the veteran of many affairs, as has happened with many of my friends. Relationships tend to end these days because another one has started. We like to think that “This may we’re all faithvery well be ful, blah blah blah, but life is a Marmite messy,” she says. book: You’ll “What I’ve realized is that when either love it’s a dynamic it or hate with a married man, the man it.” becomes almost irrelevant and the women are entirely fascinated by the other woman.” Credit the author with truth in packaging; this tale, including its incendiary twists, takes place almost entirely behind the eyes of Adele and Louise. Why not give David a perspective? “I wanted it to be about Adele and Louise’s fascination with each other, and if David had a voice? It’s kind of all about him, but it kind of isn’t. It’s terrible: I’m a master feminist and this book is all about two women vying for a man! It’s kind of an observation of women as much as anything else,” she explains. “Besides, men are all so terrible at saying the right things that it’s quite easy to make a man look suspicious!” How much of Pinborough might
readers find in wealthy, troubled Adele or frustrated single mom Louise? “We all really want to be Adele but we’re all Louise!” she laughs. “The difference between what we like to show the world and who we really are is in Adele and Louise. I’ve given up my electronic cigarettes now, but [like Louise] I was the queen of the electronic cigarette, and the glasses of wine at night, and wanting to lose three or four pounds. I am not Adele, but I think I’ve got Adele’s independence. I’m very friendly but I’m not very easy to get to know.” Pinborough is well aware that she’s breaking new ground with the gob-smacking twist in Behind Her Eyes. If all goes as planned, her follow-up, Cross Your Heart, and her new YA title, 13 Minutes (soon to be adapted by Netflix), will be the start of something she dreamed about as a restless kid curled up reading Stephen King. “I’ve created my own genre of female-centric thrillers, which is writing books where you can’t say what they’re about or you’ll give it away,” she says proudly. “When people are surprised, I’m like, it’s there; you just couldn’t tell what you were looking for. You shouldn’t cheat the reader; that’s my one big thing. They should get to the end and think, Ah! I should have seen that! Which is the important point, because I know that this may well be a Marmite book: You’ll either love it or hate it.”
BEHIND THE BOOK B Y B E V E R LY L O U I S E B R O W N
A sister’s labor of love
have never thought of 13 as a particularly unlucky number, but in the wee hours of April 14, 2015, I found out just how inauspicious it could be. I was peacefully asleep in London when the phone rang.
After a few seconds, I comatosely pulled myself out of bed to answer it, assuming that my 92-year-old mother had taken a turn for the worse. The voice at the other end of the line was sobbing, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” “Is it mother?” I asked. “No,” came the reply, “Elizabeth has been killed.” On the afternoon of April 13, my sister, Elizabeth Brown Pryor, had been driving home from the dentist down a quiet street in Richmond, Virginia, when a manic- depressive driver, who thought he could fly his car, rear-ended her beloved Audi TT at 107 miles per hour. She was killed instantly. He walked away unscathed. When I arrived in Richmond, I found her study stacked high with books on Abraham Lincoln, piles of the corrected pages of Six Encounters with Lincoln: A President Confronts Democracy and Its Demons and a phalanx of flash drives, where she had backed up each chapter and painstakingly stored her transcriptions of original documents.
SIX ENCOUNTERS WITH LINCOLN
By Elizabeth Brown Pryor
Viking, $35, 496 pages ISBN 9780670025909, audio, eBook available
The previous January she had jubilantly called me in London to announce that she had finally finished her work on “the tyrant Lincoln.” It had been a long, After the slow gestation author’s that had begun with a chance untimely discovery death, in 2008. On her sister the day she received the shepherds a final book to Lincoln Prize for Reading the publication. Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters, she had spent the morning doing research at the New-York Historical Society. When she arrived back at the flat where we were staying to change for dinner (into my new Armani jacket), she was ecstatic. Not in anticipation of receiving such a singular honor—although she was, of course, delighted to receive it—but because she had just discovered an unpublished drawing of Abraham Lincoln sketched in a letter written home during the Civil War. As she put it, “There sits Abraham Lincoln, with a familiarity almost unimaginable today, legs folded and tall hat in place, looking for all the world like a cricket perched on the nation’s front porch.” What had been a brief encounter in 1862 between the president and one of his military guards turned out to not only be a fascinating tale, but a springboard for investigating a neglected but significant aspect of Lincoln’s administration. Over the next seven years Elizabeth submerged herself in the letters, diaries and newspaper articles of the 1860s, carefully piecing together six episodes that explored Lincoln’s difficulty in managing a republic. Her own quarter-century career in the State Department
gave her a unique perspective on Peggy, grew up listening to my how slowly the wheels of governmother’s tales of the Civil War with ment turn and how our Founding rapt attention. Not that mother Fathers’ insistence on a balance herself had been around then, but of power could cause the cogs of as a child she spent hours sitting those wheels to lock in an unwelon the front porch in Terre Haute, come impasse. Few other Civil War Indiana, listening to the tales of her historians could marry personal great-grandfather, John J. Kenley, experience with scholarly insight who saw action at the battles of in such a compelling way. As she Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg and Mowas fond of saying, she had lived bile. The house was full of Civil War “real-time” history. It was her heirlooms, including the walnut unique ability to tie the various bookcase made for his wedding threads of her life experience toin 1863, the fork from his mess kit gether and reflect upon the lessons and a pile of letters, one of which that she had learned which allowed Elizabeth quotes in Six Encounher to render such a vivid picture ters. Yet, as she often said, it was of 19th-century American history. not the “stuff” that got her hooked When I found the manuscript of on the Civil War, but mother’s stoSix Encounters after her death, the rytelling ability. Mother died just text, footnotes and bibliography four months after Elizabeth, but were virtually ready for publicafor seven years she had been able tion. She had meticulously highto follow the progress of the book lighted in yellow any quotations from beginning to end, listening to or page numbers that needed to be rechecked. Only the preface was missing. I undertook the task of checking the footnotes, quotations Beverly Louise Brown (right) with her late sister, Elizabeth Brown Pryor. and bibliography. She had ordered four or the chapters as they were written. five photographs, but left no list of Taking on the task of polishing illustrations. I only knew that she Elizabeth’s manuscript and seeing had once told me that she wanted it through publication was a labor “a lot of pictures.” Luckily, as an art of love that took me outside my historian, ordering photographs own comfort zone of Italian Reis one thing I know how to do. As naissance art. For a year I gave up I read through the manuscript, my own scholarship as I grappled I tried to visualize what she was with learning an entirely new field describing and set about to find of history and cast of characters. appropriate images. She may have I was acutely aware of needing never intended to illustrate the to stay true to Elizabeth’s vision party given at the White House in and not imposing my own views. I February 1862, but when I found simply wanted to make certain the an illustration of it in Frank Leslie’s facts were correct and do her hard Illustrated Newspaper, I knew that work justice. I have no words to it would be the perfect accompani- express adequately my admiration ment to her account of the event. for her achievement as a histoI was also able to unearth several rian. I only know that more than drawings of Lincoln that were vironce the sheer beauty of her prose tually unknown in the great canon brought tears to my eyes and that of Lincoln scholarship. I miss her with all my heart every Elizabeth and I and our sister, hour of every day.
Great Books Letters To My Granddaughter
A Fine How Do You Do
A Grandmother’s Gems Connecting Family, Community and Service Eleanor Williams-Curry
a novel Patty Dickson
www.iuniverse.com 978-0-5953-9513-2 | Paperback | $14.95 978-0-5958-3912-4 | E-book | $6.00
www.iuniverse.com 978-1-4917-9822-5 | Paperback | $20.95 978-1-4917-9821-8 | E-book | $3.99
This book is about the relationship between a grandmother and one of her granddaughters. It depicts a legacy of learning, loving, and living.
An interlude of intrigue, romance and deceit, among a menagerie of memorable characters in Ambleside, England.
The Raw, Bold Truth
The Memoirs of Johnny B. Joan Hammersmith
In My Father’s Shadow Mary Lou Darst
www.iuniverse.com 978-1-4759-9966-2 | Paperback | $18.95 978-1-4759-9964-8 | E-book | $3.99
www.iuniverse.com 978-1-4620-3155-9 | Hardback | $25.95 978-1-4620-3154-2 | Paperback | $15.95 978-1-4620-3156-6 | E-book | $9.99
Joan Hammersmith tells the story of her late husband, including the abuse he faced as a child, his struggles with mental health, his prison experiences, his addictions, and his recovery.
A young, American girl during post-WWII wrestles with the challenges of a military family always on the move. Frequent travel helped her see the world in a different way than her parents did.
Tails of the Prairie
The Trophy Hunted
My Life as a Small-Town Veterinarian in Wyoming R.A. Baldwin, DVM www.iuniverse.com 978-0-5954-7637-4 | Paperback | $22.95 Join rural veterinarian R. Baldwin as he shares some of his most poignant memories from his ﬁfteen-year career. Tails of the Prairie depicts the joys and dangers of prairie life.
Evaluating Outdated Beliefs
The Transformation Of Archaic Beliefs Into Updated Conciousness Of The Future Lloyd E. McIlveen www.trafford.com 978-1-4669-9394-5 | Hardback | $27.48 978-1-4669-9395-2 | Paperback | $17.48 978-1-4669-9393-8 | E-book | $3.99
Paul F. Rafferty www.iuniverse.com 978-1-5320-0267-0 | Hardback | $26.99 978-1-4917-9806-5 | Paperback | $13.99 978-1-4917-9805-8 | E-book | $3.99 Trophy hunter Jack becomes the hunted in a sick game of man versus man, which alters his perspective on the big game he kills as he ﬁghts for survival.
Red Dot Shot Kramer Elkman
www.xlibris.com 978-1-5144-5478-7 | Hardback | $29.99 978-1-5144-5477-0 | Paperback | $19.99 978-1-5144-5476-3 | E-book | $3.99
The object of these scripts by Lloyd McIlveen is to expose and “air out” the unprovable stances and inﬂuences of religious belief and its exploitation.
Embark with Kramer Elkman on a journey as the author ﬁnds answers to obtain closure for issues that occurred and stayed unresolved for ﬁve decades.
Emotions and Thoughts
A Poem Andrew G. Zubinas www.trafford.com
978-1-4907-7406-0 | Paperback | $17.99 978-1-4907-7407-7 | E-book | $3.99
George McKinney www.xlibris.com 978-1-5245-2797-6 | Hardback | $24.99 978-1-5245-2796-9 | Paperback | $15.99 978-1-5245-2795-2 | E-book | $3.99 A masterful weaving of rhythm and rhyme, enjoy a wondrous adventure in this poem collection opening to a world of Emotions and Thoughts.
reviews T PI OP CK
THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS
Sharing your truth REVIEW BY CARLA JEAN WHITLEY
After four sons, Dr. Rosie Walsh and her husband, writer Penn Adams, thought maybe—just maybe—their fifth child would be a girl, Poppy, named for Rosie’s deceased sister. But instead, the baby was another boy, Claude. Until he decided he wasn’t. The revelation didn’t shake the Walsh-Adamses. Claude would be allowed to wear a dress. Claude would be allowed to change his name. Claude would become Poppy. Laurie Frankel’s third novel, This Is How It Always Is, doesn’t center on a family’s struggle about how to handle a child’s transition from a he to a she. It’s about everything that follows. Rosie and Penn find peace in Poppy’s kindergarten class, but Rosie worries about Poppy’s future in their relatively sheltered Minnesota By Laurie Frankel town. After much research, the family is off to Seattle, which they’re Flatiron, $25.99, 336 pages sure will be a more supportive environment for Poppy. ISBN 9781250088550, audio, eBook available And it is. But they also have four other children to consider. Their new friends in Seattle know Poppy only as a girl, and over time, it beFAMILY SAGA comes obvious that keeping the secret is taking a toll on the rest of the family. This Is How It Always Is isn’t only a novel about the challenges of life with an atypical child. It’s a story about the challenges of parenting and love, period. Frankel draws from her own experience as the mother of a second-grade girl who was born male. In writing, she offers a piece of advice: “Secrets make everyone alone.” But she also believes that we find one another by telling our stories. Visit BookPage.com to read This beautiful story is deeply personal, a heart-rending glimpse of an a Q&A with Laurie Frankel. author writing her way to understanding.
THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR By Yewande Omotoso
Picador $16, 288 pages ISBN 9781250124579 eBook available
Yewande Omotoso, a B arbadosborn author who moved to South Africa in 1992, makes her U.S. fiction debut with this provocative, enlightening and at times outrageously funny novel about two old and very opinionated neighbors in Katterijn, a wealthy suburb of Cape Town. Marion Agostino is a white native of Cape Town, a widow and the head of their enclave’s property owners. She once was the principal architect in her own firm, but gave up that work when she became the mother of four children, who now
mostly ignore her. Hortensia James, a famous black textile designer whose husband is on his deathbed, has been her neighbor for the past 20 years. The relationship between these strong, creative women has been nothing but contentious. In chapters alternating between their voices, Omotoso slowly fills in their backstories, revealing their loves, hopes and disappointments to give insight into how they evolved into the women they are now. Then an event occurs that forces Marion and Hortensia to come together—both living temporarily under the same roof. With an acutely perceptive eye, Omotoso paints a picture of the subtle changes in their interactions. As their snipes and barbs morph into attempts at understanding, their personal growth reminds the reader of what is still occurring, on a grander scale, in the country these memorable women call home. —DEBORAH DONOVAN
A SEPARATION By Katie Kitamura Riverhead $25, 240 pages ISBN 9780399576102 eBook available
Greece for a month to conduct research for a book, a general-interest “study of mourning rituals around the world”—an odd topic, the narrator thinks, for a “careless flirt” in his early 40s who has never suffered loss. When Christopher’s mother can’t reach him in Greece, she worries that something is wrong. Unaware of the couple’s six-month separation, she buys the narrator a ticket to go and investigate. What follows is a psychologically rich story involving a female hotel clerk, a “widely admired weeper” known for her musical lamentations and a murder. Kitamura finds a clever parallel between the art of translation and marriage: the struggle to be faithful, which, as the narrator states, is “an impossible task because there are multiple and contradictory ways” of achieving fidelity. As this coolly elegant work makes clear, the definition of fealty may vary depending on whom you ask. —MICHAEL MAGRAS
ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS By Elan Mastai
Dutton $26, 384 pages ISBN 9781101985137 Audio, eBook available
Amid the deluge of unreliable, devious narrators that compose so much of recent fiction, meet Tom LITERARY FICTION Barren. He’s refreshingly truthful, completely forthright—and an abject failure. In the debut novel from There’s more than one way to Toronto author and screenwriter feel like a stranger in a foreign land. Elan Mastai, Tom would like to tell The pleasant way is to travel to a you how he screwed up the future. vacation spot, but a more unnervTom’s self-effacing memoir ing sense of dislocation comes opens with a dose of physics, as when one is a party to a faltering our apologetic hero does his best marriage. Katie Kitamura explores to explain just how he got stuck this theme in her new novel, A in the “dank, grimy horror” that is Separation, a quietly devastating our 2016. Tom is from an alternate story of a childless, London-based reality, the kind of utopian future couple on the verge of divorce. that Americans dreamed of in The unnamed narrator works the 1950s. In this technological as a translator, though we never paradise, the groundbreaking learn her country of origin. When Goettreider Engine uses the Earth’s rotation to power all of humanithe novel begins, Christopher, the narrator’s husband, has been in ty. Below-average Tom might be
GREAT NEW FICTION for Winter Escapes
“An exquisite, emotionally resonant romance.” —Entertainment Weekly
An NPR, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, and PASTE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
“Delightful.... Irresistible.... Very funny.... A joy.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
A Few of the Girls is a string of gems [with] poignant wit and unfailingly wise and gentle psychology.”
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK and NPR GREAT READ
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Every so often you read a novel to which the best critical response is simply ‘Wow!’
The new 44 Scotland Street novel—
“Written with abundant wit [and] equally large dollops of wisdom.”
followed by a sigh of pleasure.”
—Scotland on Sunday
—The Wall Street Journal
“A fascinating blend of love and murder, big dreams and betrayal, history and pure imagination—
I could not put it down.”
—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
“A beautifully written treat.... As much a disturbing
portrait of family and town life as it is a provocative mystery.”
A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
NOW IN PAPERBACK AND EBOOK • Read excerpts and more at ReadingGroupCenter.com
reviews a disappointment to his genius father, but things are generally pretty good for humankind in his 2016. That is, until—in a fit of rage, guilt and grief—Tom defiantly hops into the time machine his father has built and accidentally halts the creation of the Goettreider Engine. Mastai’s utopian worldbuilding is complex and imaginative, but some of the book’s most memorable sections are when Tom attempts to navigate our “retrograde” world. Here, his family is different: His mother is still alive, his father is kind, and he has a sharp-witted sister. His love is different, and his failures are different. This isn’t your typical time-travel story where the wrong reality needs to be righted. An entertaining rom-com of errors, All Our Wrong Todays backflips through paradoxes while exploring provocative questions of grief and the multitudes we contain within ourselves. Ultimately, it’s a story about love—and the stupid things we’ll do for it.
FICTION became the highest paid female ad copywriter in the world. Lauded by society pages for her beauty and wit, Fishback also gained praise and popularity as a poet and writer of modern etiquette guides. As Lillian weaves her way through New York City, recalling her life and loves, we are treated (yes, treated) to the melancholy humor of a woman who knows she is drifting out of place and yet right at home at the same time. It is inescapably sad to accompany an elderly lady while she ponders the persons and places she has outlived. Yet Lillian’s grace is in her ability to rise above nostalgia. For some, Lillian will be the stranger you meet who unexpectedly makes your day more pleasant; for others, Lillian will become a fast friend. Either way, the fresh air will do you good.
Inspired by Victorian spiritualism, The Possessions is recommended for lovers of speculative fiction, noir or gritty mysteries. With its focus on intriguing, beautiful women and the variety of tragedies that befall them, the novel also recalls Hitchcock. Murphy ensures compulsive page-turning until the past and future of each character is unveiled, and the crescendo of that reveal is heady and satisfying. —AMANDA TRIVETT
MIRANDA AND CALIBAN By Jacqueline Carey
Tor $25.99, 352 pages ISBN 9780765386793 Audio, eBook available
Jacqueline Carey, author of the fantasy classic Kushiel’s Dart, weds THE POSSESSIONS her lyrical prose to one of Shake—CAT ACREE speare’s most enigmatic plays in By Sara Flannery Miranda and Caliban. This hauntMurphy Visit BookPage.com to Harper ing tale of innocence, sensuality $26.99, 368 pages read a Q&A with Elan Mastai. and rebellion tells the story of ISBN 9780062458322 the vengeful magician Prospero’s Audio, eBook available daughter, Miranda, and his serLILLIAN BOXFISH TAKES A WALK vant, Caliban, before the events of SUSPENSE The Tempest. By Kathleen The novel begins when ProspeRooney St. Martin’s Sara Flannery Murphy’s debut ro forces Caliban into his service. $25.99, 304 pages novel, The Possessions, is an adMiranda, still a young girl, quickly ISBN 9781250113320 dictive, slow-burning mystery that takes to Caliban, helping her father Audio, eBook available fuses classic noir with the intrigue in his efforts to “civilize” him. As of speculative fiction. Controversial the narrative draws ever closer to LITERARY FICTION and unregulated, the industry for the events of Shakespeare’s play, “bodies”—willing hosts to spirMiranda and Caliban struggle to If you are not charmed by Lillian its—is in high demand, and Edie define their lives outside of the roles preordained for them. Boxfish, then there may be no hope is one of the best. She excels at the for you. evacuation of her body, making Carey clearly has great respect and affection for Shakespeare’s Lillian—in her green velvet dress, room for other souls in carefully orange fire lipstick, blue fedora metered-out sessions with her work, but is unafraid to engage and mink coat—doesn’t dress, in clients. But Edie’s careful decorum with the text from a modern perdissolves upon the assignment spective. The corroding effects of her words, “like a typical old lady.” colonialism and vengeance, themes of a new client, Patrick, who is And when Lillian finds herself on desperate to spend time with his that ran under the surface of the an improbable journey through the gritty streets of Manhattan on deceased wife, Sylvia. original play, have immediate and New Year’s Eve in 1984, readers As Edie’s longing for Patrick heartbreaking effects here. The soon learn that the 85-year-old Ms. grows, her desire to share more world of Prospero’s island is as rich of her time and body with Sylvia Boxfish doesn’t walk, think or live and vital as it is harsh and unforgivreaches new heights. When Edie like an old lady either. ing, and Carey deftly navigates the decides to investigate the supposPoet Kathleen Rooney’s secgrowing maturity of her two main ond novel was inspired by the edly volatile nature of Patrick and characters, imbuing the pivotal life of Depression-era advertising Sylvia’s marriage and her untimely moments in Miranda and Caliban’s death, major secrets are uncovered. development with shocking beauty doyenne Margaret Fishback, who
and deeply felt emotion. Revisions and retellings of Shakespeare’s plays are frequent, but Carey reshapes The Tempest with an uncommon grace and startling clarity. She understands the devastating impact choices, no matter how innocent, can make. —SAVANNA WALKER
THE PATRIOTS By Sana Krasikov Spiegel & Grau $28, 560 pages ISBN 9780385524414 Audio, eBook available
The subject of American innocence up against European experience has been examined in American fiction since Henry James imagined Daisy Miller sneaking into the Roman Colosseum. Sana Krasikov digs into the topic from a new and surprising angle in a thoroughly researched and deeply felt historical novel, The Patriots, which follows the consequences of an idealistic young American’s flight to the Soviet Union. For Florence Fein, the opportunities and promise of the Soviet Union beat out anything that slow-moving Brooklyn has to offer. After moving to Russia in 1934, Florence throws herself wholeheartedly into the creation of the USSR, remaining loyal to her new homeland even after her American passport is confiscated. Her story is punctuated by the first-person voice of her adult son, Julian, in Russia on business 40 years later and eager to quell rumours that his mother informed on friends and co-workers to stay alive. Krasikov’s award-winning story collection, One More Year, was about compromised choices amid the social and economic flux of political change. The Patriots draws on similar themes, despite its epic scope. Krasikov skillfully moves between voices and decades, never neglecting the moral difficulties of life under a totalitarian regime. There is a compassion here as well as surprising humor,
FICTION but most of all, a keen awareness of how people strive to be good in dire circumstances. The Patriots is an ambitious, unsentimental and astonishingly masterful first novel with a singular portrayal of living by conviction, no matter the cost. —LAUREN BUFFERD
AUTUMN By Ali Smith
Pantheon $24.95, 272 pages ISBN 9781101870730 Audio, eBook available
Dead”). Autumn is the first installment of a projected quartet of “seasonal” novels. Impressionistic in character, it’s a book to be read less for any conventional plot than for its skill in stimulating a reflective mood. —HARVEY FREEDENBERG
THE ANIMATORS By Kayla Rae Whitaker
Random House $27, 384 pages ISBN 9780812989281 eBook available
over those who create it and those who consume it. Mel and Sharon jump off the page as real, fully formed characters, and spending time with them is total treat from beginning to end. —ABBY PLESSER
Visit BookPage.com to read a Q&A with Kayla Rae Whitaker.
PERFECT LITTLE WORLD By Kevin Wilson
Ecco $26.99, 352 pages ISBN 9780062450326 Audio, eBook available
In her new novel, the always intriguing Ali Smith portrays an odd friendship between a centenarian and the neighbor girl—now a young woman—he cared for in her childhood. Smith blends conventional realist narrative with passages that read almost like prose poems to create an elegiac story that’s decidedly more than the sum of its parts. Daniel Gluck, once a songwriter and former “unofficial babysitter” to Elisabeth Demand, awaits his death in a nursing home. In the present, we penetrate Daniel’s consciousness to share some of his hallucinatory dreams, and through flashbacks, Smith gently reveals how this kindly, unassuming man served as a mentor to his young charge. Now in her early 30s, Elisabeth is a junior lecturer in art history, struggling with her doctoral thesis. Drawing back from this intimate tableau, Autumn also offers a piercing view of an unsettled Eng land in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit vote. “All across the country,” Smith writes in a terse chapter whose every sentence begins with those words, “there was misery and rejoicing,” echoing the opening passage of A Tale of Two Cities, quoted by Elisabeth in her bedside reading to Daniel. Much of this novel’s pleasure flows from Smith’s supple prose. She indulges in word play with an almost Joycean zest (offering an homage to him in a brief allusion to his iconic Dubliners story, “The
When we first meet college freshman Sharon Kisses, she’s a shy, uneasy scholarship kid from Kentucky. But then she meets Mel Vaught in sketch class—and her world is blown wide open. Confident and unapologetic, Mel recognizes and encourages Sharon’s artistic talent in a way no one has before. Like Sharon, Mel has come from humble and broken beginnings, and together they channel their personal pain into art. Ten years later, Mel and Sharon are finding success as working cartoonists. Their first animated feature film—based on Mel’s childhood—is getting a good deal of attention. But then Mel gets disturbing news from home, Sharon has a health crisis and their work is put on hold. Once Mel discovers something Sharon has been hiding from her for years, things get even more complicated. The Animators is a big, sprawling novel about art, love, family and loss. Kayla Rae Whitaker writes breathlessly and beautifully about the power of deep, true friendship and the ways in which people—and friendships—change over the years. She tackles the big questions, creating a novel that manages to be both thoughtful and thought-provoking. And while the plot occasionally dips into minutiae and melodrama, Whitaker’s deft writing keeps the pages turning. It’s rare to find a novel that so accurately explores the creative process and the hold art can have
When it comes to oddball families, no author puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional” quite like Kevin Wilson. Having previously explored the indelible influences of nature and nurture in his cheeky debut, The Family Fang, Wilson wades deeper into the complexities of child-rearing and family life in Perfect Little World. Pregnant by her emotionally unstable high school art teacher, Izzy Poole finds herself facing single motherhood at the ripe old age of 18. So when Izzy meets Dr. Preston Grind, a child psychologist who tells her a study he’s launching will cover all of Izzy and her child’s needs as well as provide them with a built-in family, it seems like a dream come true. The only catch? Izzy must cohabitate with nine other families for 10 years and agree to co-parent and love their children as though they were her own. Reasoning that if two parents are better than one, 20 must be even more of an advantage, Izzy agrees. In light and lively prose that practically tap dances on the page, Wilson shrewdly probes the intricate tensions and machinations that lie at the core of this eccentric family unit. Throughout the narrative, there is the ever-increasing sense that all families—like all systems—are ultimately trending towards chaos, yet Wilson’s story is infused with a tenderhearted hopefulness. For fans of whimsical
family dramas and character-driven novels, Perfect Little World is a provocative and uplifting read. —STEPHENIE HARRISON
A BOOK OF AMERICAN MARTYRS By Joyce Carol Oates
Ecco $26.99, 752 pages ISBN 9780062643049 Audio, eBook available
Some of our best artists seem blessed with a type of clairvoyance, or at least a deep understanding of the zeitgeist that feels like clairvoyance. This seems especially true of Joyce Carol Oates, who’s taken our peculiarly American darkness as her subject matter throughout her career. In her latest, A Book of American Martyrs, Oates is at her most incisive, wrenching and timely. When extremist Luther Dunphy murders OB/GYN Augustus Voorhees and his driver, it’s clear that the two are American martyrs—but they are only ground zero. Their martyrdom spreads out in circles, like hard radiation, to make collateral damage of wives, children, parents, siblings and innocent bystanders. Even Dunphy is a martyr of sorts. He goes quietly when the cops come for him; he doesn’t plead for his life when he faces the death penalty. But Oates understands that “martyr” doesn’t mean “saint.” Both men are unyielding in their beliefs: For the evangelical Christian Dunphy, abortion is murder; for the atheist Voorhees, a woman’s right to her body is inviolable. Even as she anatomizes this latest American schism, Oates touches on her usual obsessions. We have the almost casual brutality with which men treat women. Parents fail in a million ways, but only mothers are not forgiven for it. Pregnancy and childbirth are, at best, biological tragedies. There’s boxing. Yet Oates finds a path to empathy, compassion and perhaps even reconciliation. Once again, Oates proves that she remains one of our most necessary authors. —ARLENE McKANIC
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CANNIBALISM By Bill Schutt
A REALLY GOOD DAY
A long, strange trip to wellness
Algonquin $26.95, 352 pages ISBN 9781616204624 Audio, eBook available
REVIEW BY AMY SCRIBNER
Depressed, suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder and wrought with pain from a frozen shoulder, Ayelet Waldman was on a steady diet of antidepressants, estrogen patches and sleeping pills. Yet her pain and wild mood swings persisted. Her four children and husband (writer Michael Chabon) were the targets of most of her wrath. “I found myself in a state of seemingly perpetual irritability,” she writes. “I seethed, I turned that fury on the people around me, and then I collapsed in shame at these outbursts. . . . I couldn’t manage to lift the grimy curtain of my unhappiness.” Then she stumbled on a book about microdosing—taking tiny amounts of LSD, ofterwise known as acid. The doses are so small that they don’t cause hallucination but improve mood and focus. The process of microdosing was “not so much going on an acid trip as going By Ayelet Waldman Knopf, $25.95, 256 pages on an acid errand,” she writes. ISBN 9780451494092, audio, eBook available Following a strict dosing protocol, she experienced decreased physical pain and increased joy. Waldman, author of Bad Mother and MEMOIR a series of entertaining mysteries about a public defender turned stay-at-home mom, began her career as a lawyer and taught a college class on the war on drugs. She struggles with the morality of purchasing and taking illegal drugs, albeit for a good cause. She also writes openly about how her mental health has impacted her marriage; Chabon is portrayed with near-saintly patience, and a scene where they attend therapy is a lovely glimpse at a couple in it for the long haul. A Really Good Day is a surprisingly poignant, funny and deeply introspective journal of Waldman’s month of treatment. Ultimately, her story is about family, marriage and dealing with modern life, with all its stressors and moments of beauty.
ONCE WE WERE SISTERS By Sheila Kohler
Penguin $16, 256 pages ISBN 9780143129295 Audio, eBook available
At first glance, life seems idyllic for golden-haired sisters Sheila and Maxine, daughters of privilege growing up in the 1940s and ’50s on a large estate near Johannesburg, South Africa. As Sheila Kohler notes in Once We Were Sisters, their family homestead was complete with “an army of servants,” swimming pool, tennis court and nine-hole golf course. While leaning on each other for love, laughter
and support, the sisters studied in France, went to finishing school in Italy, married, bought homes in several countries and had children. Sheila’s world was shattered in 1979 when Maxine, mother of six children, was killed in a car accident at age 39. Maxine’s husband Carl, a protégé of famed heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard, had driven their car off a deserted road and into a lamppost. Kohler believes the act was murder. Maxine had confessed repeatedly that her husband beat her “Black-and-blue!” and during a visit in Sardinia, admitted that she was afraid to go home. To her eternal regret, Sheila advised her sister to return to her children. Maxine’s death propelled Sheila into a life of writing: an MFA at Columbia followed by award-winning short stories, nine novels and her riveting new memoir.
Let’s face it: We are fascinated by cannibalism, from Hannibal Lecter to the brain-eating zombies in “The Walking Dead.” In Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, zoologist Bill Schutt writes about cannibalism with a delightful mixture of humor and scholarship. Our horror of cannibalism is so deeply instilled that we assume it is an aberration resulting from extreme conditions such as starvation. Until fairly recently, most zoologists shared that belief. However, research since the 1990s has demonstrated that cannibalism is anything but rare in the animal kingdom. Schutt makes a convincing and frequently hilarious argument that cannibalism is a logical and successful strategy that many animals—especially insects, amphibians and fish, but also birds and mammals—employ in order to ensure the survival of their species. “In story after story,” Kohler The book is at its best, however, writes, “I conjure up my sister in when discussing human cannivarious disguises, as well as other balism. Schutt writes movingly figures from our past. Her bright about the tragic Donner Party, one image leads me onward like a of the most infamous examples candle in the night. Again and of starvation-induced human again in various forms and shapes I cannibalism. He also discusses write her story, colored by my own the ongoing debate about whether feelings of love and guilt.” ritual cannibalism—the consumpKohler is a thoughtful, lyrical tion of human flesh for liturgical writer who shares memories of her or spiritual reasons—actually colorful life in artfully arranged exists, or if it is a rumor based on chapters that intersperse past and ignorance and fear, as well as an present in careful layers, explorexcuse for genocide and exploitaing myriad family secrets hidden tion. But the most sobering reading beneath a gilded, guarded exterior. comes when he explores the links Her soul-searching memoir rebetween cannibalism and emergmains skillfully lean while evoking ing diseases, and the implications lush images of life with her beloved for our own future in the face of sister. Throughout the narrative, diminishing resources. Kohler ponders her sister’s fate, Erudite, amusing and often movasking tough questions and coning, this is a compelling examinacluding, “I am still looking for the tion of a serious topic. Be prepared answers.” for some pretty curious looks, — A L I C E C A R Y though—most people aren’t used
spotlight to hearing bursts of laughter from someone reading a book emblazoned with the title Cannibalism! —DEBORAH MASON
REALITY IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS By Carlo Rovelli
Riverhead $26, 288 pages ISBN 9780735213920 Audio, eBook available
Read theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli’s meticulous explanations of the “elementary weave of the world” and you will never again let the phrase “quantum leap” roll loosely from your tongue. Instead of bringing to mind “The X-Files,” the words will invoke questions—and possible answers—about the very structure of space. In careful, professorial fashion, Rovelli lays out the history of breakthroughs in physics, deftly showing how each new theory built on or discredited previous theories, leading us to ideas Rovelli works with today, like loop quantum gravity and spin networks. Rovelli’s stated aim is to educate audiences who know little about today’s physics, but it must be said that the true novice will need to pay strict attention to each lesson offered here if he or she is to benefit from the knowledge that accumulates as the pages turn. Most readers would be well served to begin with Rovelli’s 2016 bestseller, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, a whirlwind tour of the ideas developed more deeply here. If you prefer your physics steeped in context, though, this new volume is the place to dive in, for Rovelli writes eloquently here about historical figures from Anaximander to Einstein, and even poets like Dante and Shakespeare. Accessible on many levels, Reality Is Not What It Seems offers logical explanations of complex concepts. Throughout, Rovelli makes palpable the human struggle to understand our world and to “discover the new.”
BLACK HISTORY BY PRISCILLA KIPP
New perspectives on slavery and freedom
lack History Month is an annual celebration of black achievements as well as a reminder of the ongoing struggle against adversity. In three new books, George Washington’s runaway slave achieves freedom, members of the black elite in post-Reconstruction Washington, D.C., wrestle with Jim Crow and a Mississippi murder re-invigorates the civil rights movement.
George Washington beat all odds to win the American colonies their independence, then surrendered his private life to serve as the nation’s first president. What he never gave up were his slaves. The remarkable story of the female slave who got away, Never Caught (37 INK, $26, 272 pages, ISBN 9781501126390), is a testament to her tenacity on both sides of bondage. Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s impressive research reveals the details: Ona Judge, Martha Washington’s personal slave, slipped away from the couple’s official residence in Philadelphia, the seat of the new government. She had served the family since birth, but when Martha planned to “give” Judge away to her volatile granddaughter, she decided to risk escape. Aided by the free black community in progressive Philadelphia, where slave owners were required to free slaves after a six-month residency (a law that Washington subverted by rotating his slaves to and from his Virginia estate, Mount Vernon), Judge fled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Using the power of his office, Washington pursued her. With winter on her heels, Judge had to find shelter and work, elude slave catchers and forget about the family she left behind. While there is scant historical record of her remaining days, the shadow Judge casts on the president is long and dark, as told in this obscure chapter of U.S. history.
REVERSING RIGHTS In The Original Black Elite (Amistad, $27.99, 512 pages, ISBN 9780062346094), Elizabeth Dowling Taylor meticulously traces the auspicious rise and steady decline of African-American influence and civil rights in Washington, D.C., and beyond, as seen through the Daniel Murray family. The ambitious and aristocratic Murray was assistant librarian at the Library of Congress and compiler of the first encyclopedia for “the colored race throughout the world,” but could do little to stop the degradations and injustices. After Emancipation and the Civil War, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution further guaranteed freedom, protection and civil rights to all African Americans—but not for long. Reconstruction led to political fence-mending be-
tween the North and South, spawning Jim Crow laws and institutionalizing racism in the largely black District of Columbia, once considered “a black man’s paradise.” Racial exclusions went mostly unremedied by President William McKinley, and later were allowed to flourish under President Woodrow Wilson. Even at the doorstep of Congress, buying a house, dining in a restaurant or burying the dead were matters decided by color. By the time black veterans of World War I returned home, jobless and castigated as threats to whites, Washington was ready to erupt. The Red Summer of 1919 followed, and as race riots spread to other cities, it became clear that equality would be hard won.
MURDER AS CATALYST In The Blood of Emmett Till (Simon & Schuster, $27, 304 pages, ISBN 9781476714844), Timothy B. Tyson delivers a riveting, richly detailed account of the crime that reignited the civil rights movement. Tyson begins with an exclusive interview with Carolyn Bryant, in which— decades later—the white woman at the center of the crime admits to lying about that summer day in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till was a bright, church-going 14-year-old with a slight stutter. He liked doo-wop and baseball. Before his mother, Mamie, sent him by train from Chicago’s south side to Mississippi to spend the summer with his cousins and great-uncle Moses Wright, an ordained preacher, she warned him about the “Delta way of life,” a culture of strict segregation demanding black subservience, especially regarding white women. Raised by his mother and grandmother, Till had never been known to cause trouble. Yet, days before he was to return home, he visited the small general store operated by Roy Bryant, where he allegedly touched Carolyn’s hand as he paid for his candy and “smart talked” to her. Her false testimony sealed his fate. Till’s bloated, mutilated body soon bubbled up in the Tallahatchie River; these murders were so common in Mississippi, and so overlooked elsewhere, it might have gone unaddressed. But Mamie called the Chicago press and insisted on an open casket: “Let the world see what they did to my boy.” Thus began a new era in the civil rights movement.
reviews ARTHUR AND SHERLOCK By Michael Sims Bloomsbury $27, 256 pages ISBN 9781632860392 eBook available
Arthur Conan Doyle was a mediocre medical doctor with an adventurous streak that could not be suppressed. “Several times in my life I have done utterly reckless things with so little motive that I have found it difficult to explain them to myself afterwards,” he wrote in his memoir. In Arthur and Sherlock, literary historian Michael Sims traces some of Doyle’s grand adventures, including expeditions to the polar icecap and Africa, and shows how they became fodder for his early prose. But travel wasn’t the only source of inspiration for Doyle’s iconic fictional sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Joseph Bell, who was one of Doyle’s teachers in medical school in Scotland, was so recognizable in the character of Holmes that Robert Louis Stevenson, who also studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, wrote to Doyle to inquire, “can this be my old friend Joe Bell?” Bell, a lively, intelligent man who could startle classes with uncanny observational deduction, proved a wonderful model for Holmes, who both builds on and deviates from the literary tradition of detective fiction that goes all the way back to the Bible itself. (King David, Sims suggests, is an early prototype of the detective figure.) This tradition is luminously carried on by Edgar Allan Poe, whom Sims explores in absorbing detail. There is something in this marvelous book for every Holmes fan, and short, vivid chapters keep the pages turning. From early reviewers who couldn’t spell Doyle’s name to grand lunches with famous magazine editors alongside Oscar Wilde, Sims knows how to paint a picture that fascinates and delights. Arthur and Sherlock will take its place on the growing shelf of literary histo-
NONFICTION ries presented by this talented and eloquent writer. — K E L LY B L E W E T T
DISASTER FALLS By Stéphane Gerson
Crown $26, 272 pages ISBN 9781101906699 Audio, eBook available
a tragedy? Gerson’s reactions to well-meaning attempts at connection might surprise you. Not so surprisingly, a legal battle emerges toward the end of the book, bringing with it some of Gerson’s most powerful writing. For the Gersons, as with all families, the journey continues along life’s never-ending river. —KEITH HERRELL
RISE By Cara Brookins
The five stages of grief are a well-known reaction to loss, but Stéphane Gerson added a sixth when his 8-year-old son, Owen, died in a commercial rafting accident on Utah’s Green River: He decided to write about it, “in expiation, in homage, in remembrance.” The resulting book, Disaster Falls, is an excruciating read—and an invaluable emotional resource. Few of us, fortunately, experience a loss comparable to that of Gerson and his wife, Alison, and surviving son, Julian. But as Gerson makes clear, no one wakes up in the morning anticipating disaster. Seemingly inconsequential decisions can have far-reaching ramifications, sometimes resulting in death. So it was with Owen, who was in a small craft known as a ducky with his father when it flipped. The decision to take an 8-yearold through Class III rapids can and undoubtedly will be debated by parents who read Disaster Falls, but what of the countless other decisions we make? What constitutes crossing the line when it comes to protecting our children or letting them stretch their world? Or is there not really a line but a kaleidoscope of random, inexplicable occurrences? Gerson, a cultural historian and professor of French studies at New York University, writes unflinchingly of the accident, its immediate aftermath and its effect on him and his family. If you wonder how couples stay together—or break apart—after a devastating loss, his insights are illuminating. And how should you respond to a family that’s going through such
St. Martin’s $25.99, 320 pages ISBN 9781250095664 Audio, eBook available
Escaping the fallout of failed marriages and domestic abuse, on a weekend getaway Cara Brookins happened upon a stately home ravaged by Mother Nature. Her walk through the home’s crumbling remains became the impetus for a plan to build a new house for herself and her four children. Beyond financial necessity and the empowering prospects of tackling such a grandiose do-it-yourself project, Brookins hoped the home would help heal her fractured family. Rise: How a House Built a Family takes readers along on a transformative journey. Brookins marks off the acre of land she has purchased with a bag of self-rising flour, then secures a bank loan. With the help of YouTube videos and a learnas-you-go attitude, Brookins and her kids lay bricks, frame walls, integrate plumbing and build their dream. Brookins captures the process in rise and fall chapters: The rises highlight house construction, while the falls offer heart-rending memories of trauma inflicted by a schizophrenic ex-husband. While building a five-bedroom house may not be for everyone, all readers can find inspiration in Brookins’ endeavor. In an age when few adolescents would forgo extracurricular activities, endure exhausting manual labor and accept a tool belt for Christmas,
her young crew pitches in for the greater good of the family. Perhaps 15-year-old Drew says it best when he admonishes his sister, “You built your own damn house, you can do anything.” —CAROL DAVALA
HIT MAKERS By Derek Thompson
Penguin Press $28, 352 pages ISBN 9781101980323 Audio, eBook available
Why are Star Wars, Fifty Shades of Grey, “Seinfeld,” Adele’s “Hello” and “Game of Thrones” such huge hits while other movies, books and songs languish in obscurity? Bothered by this question for years, Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson cannily travels through the halls of science, economics, history and popular culture in a quest for clues in his entertaining Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction. Two questions guide his search: What’s the secret to making products that people like, and why do some fail while others become wildly popular? The simple answer that runs through his book has a familiar ring: marketing, marketing, marketing, or what we might call “discoverability” and “distribution”—getting the most familiar product in the front of the most people. While familiar products have an edge (the tunes of “Let It Be” and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” for example, are built on the same chord progressions), successful products can also push beyond the familiar if they stay within consumers’ comfort zones. Spotify listeners enjoy being introduced to fresh music as long as the list contains a few already familiar tunes; thus, popularity can also build on a moment of aesthetic discovery. Thompson’s absorbing book is bound to be a hit with any reader searching to better understand the pop-culture landscape. — H E N R Y L . C A R R I G A N J R .
T PI OP CK
AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE
Remembering you REVIEW BY SHARON VERBETEN
Oswald Pinkerton has an unfortunate moniker and a boyfriend who has disappeared. Ozzie is a thinker—perhaps too much so—and he wonders endlessly about how his boyfriend, Tommy, vanished. Not only is Tommy gone, but he’s been erased from the memories of everyone who ever knew him. As Ozzie navigates school (the bullies, as well as a potential new love interest, Calvin), work (where he often sees Tommy’s mom) and friends (including gender-bending Lua), he also travels from therapist to therapist (reluctantly) to deal with issues relating to Tommy, his parents’ rocky divorce and a plane crash that nearly took his life. At the Edge of the Universe tackles it all—relationships, gender issues, family angst, sexual abuse, alcoholism. It’s a heavy read, but a surprising page-turner. Author Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are the Ants) infuses the very likable yet troubled Ozzie with a lot of interest in By Shaun David Hutchinson Simon Pulse, $17.99, 496 pages and knowledge of the metaphysical world, but there is enough added ISBN 9781481449663, eBook available drama and typical teen issues to keep readers wondering: Will Calvin Ages 14 and up and Ozzie become a couple? Will Tommy return? Is the universe really shrinking? FICTION This is a well-composed, intelligent young adult read with contemporary themes and plenty of descriptive detail. Some of the issues aren’t pretty or easy, but today’s teens will thrill to Oswald’s story of great heart and big ideas.
CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES By Natalie C. Anderson
Putnam $18.99, 432 pages ISBN 9780399547584 Audio, eBook available Ages 12 and up
Sixteen-year-old Tina lives by the skin of her teeth as a Goonda, a member of the gang of thieves operating in Sangui City (a fictional place in East Africa). Although she has erased most of her past, Tina secretly visits her younger sister, Kiki, at her boarding school. But she has cut ties with the Greyhill family, for whom her mother, Anju, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, once worked as a maid. Except that now Tina hopes to prove what she has long suspected, that mining executive Roland Greyhill is responsible for her mother’s murder.
When Tina breaks into the Greyhill mansion, she is caught by Roland’s son, Michael, her childhood friend. Convinced that his father is innocent, Michael persuades Tina to try to look for the real killer. Michael and Tina, along with fellow thief Boyboy, embark on a perilous search to unravel Anju’s tortuous past—a search that brings them into the midst of unrest and violence. In Tina, author Natalie C. Anderson has created an unforgettable heroine, who, like Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander, leaps off the page as a distinct individual, both strong and vulnerable. Tina’s passions—her love for her sister, a desire for revenge and her growing feelings for Michael—drive the narrative forward at breakneck speed. Anderson drew from stories she heard firsthand while working with refugees in Kenya. While the story is fiction, there is a sobering authenticity in its themes of war, refugees, poverty and violence against women, which are sure to
generate discussion in and out of the classroom. —DEBORAH HOPKINSON
home of Ana Molina, where she is given the opportunity to learn to repair accordions. After another strange turn of events, Sally learns that Morro is not dead but hiding somewhere in the Far East. Encouraged by the unexpected news, Sally embarks on a journey to prove her friend’s innocence. Eighty chapters and more than 600 pages long, The Murderer’s Ape feels like a rebooted Alexandre Dumas novel. While the book’s length may be daunting, Wegelius’ audience is in for a pleasant surprise. The highly engaging narrative turns a fat novel into a light read. In the midst of Sally’s complex account, Wegelius weaves in a well-defined cast and punctuates his substantial story with over 100 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations. The character portrayals at the book’s opening are particularly stunning. —ANITA LOCK
ALLEGEDLY By Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen $17.99, 400 pages ISBN 9780062422644 Audio, eBook available Ages 13 and up
THE MURDERER’S APE Mixed-race Mary B. Addison has lived in a group home since her release from “baby jail,” where she was held for six years. The other girls are like Mary—convicted of violent crimes—but she is the one they call “psycho.” Mary commitMYSTERY ted the most heinous crime of the group: When she was 9 years old, Award-winning Swedish author she killed the white baby her mothand illustrator Jakob Wegelius pens er was babysitting. Allegedly. a fascinating murder-mystery that Mary wants the opportunity to features a multitalented gorilla, Sal- rebuild her life unfettered by her ly Jones, who narrates the story via reputation. She is extremely smart, a 1908 Underwood No. 5 typewriter. and wants to go to college and Sally’s seaman friend Chief be a teacher. But because of the nature of her crime, many doors accepts a peculiar transport job from a shady character named Alare closed to her. She can’t attend regular public school, and a career phonse Morro. In a strange turn of events, Chief is wrongfully accused that would put her in contact with of murdering Morro and sent to children is out of the question. prison for 25 years. Now separated Now that she has a loving boyfrom Chief, Sally finds refuge at the friend and a baby on the way, it’s
By Jakob Wegelius Delacorte $17.99, 624 pages ISBN 9781101931752 Audio, eBook available Ages 12 and up
The new face of children’s & young adult literature at BookPage!
reviews even more important that she convince her mother to tell the whole truth about that night. But Momma isn’t trustworthy, and Mary is reluctant to divulge details. With Mary’s first-person narration interspersed with excerpts from true crime books about her case and transcripts of interviews with detectives and doctors, Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut novel unfolds in meticulously layered detail. Mary and Momma are fascinating characters at the center of a sophisticated and morally complex plot. Though the unsettling outcome may disturb some readers, Allegedly is a mind-boggling story sure to entertain young thriller enthusiasts. —ANNIE METCALF
PIECING ME TOGETHER
By Renée Watson Bloomsbury $17.99, 272 pages ISBN 9781681191058 eBook available Ages 13 and up
BOOK REVIEWS AUTHOR INTERVIEWS GIVEAWAYS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX
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“And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.” The latest novel from Renée Watson captures the poignant story of a black teenage girl struggling to navigate a world that doesn’t appear to accept her. Jade Butler lives in an impoverished area of Portland, Oregon, and is raised by a single mother who works tirelessly so that Jade can attend a prestigious private high school. There, Jade is given lots of opportunities, such as free SAT prep classes and tutoring jobs. When Jade is invited to participate in a mentorship program for African-American girls, she is disappointed. She’s tired of being selected for programs where the only criteria is being black and poor. She just wants to be nominated for the study abroad trip to Costa Rica, but it’s difficult to refuse these opportunities when so much is riding on her success.
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TEEN Piecing Me Together is a beautifully written story told through the first-person narration of a girl who, despite being smart, strong and artistic, still feels like she has to overcome her race, gender and socio-economic status. This has as much to do with the actions of the adults in her life—as well intentioned as they may be—as it does with the undercurrent of racism and classism. There’s a lot to unpack here, and readers will finish the story with more questions than answers—a testament to the novel’s complexity and nuance. — K I M B E R LY G I A R R A T A N O
of killers. Loyalty to one’s family is everything, and it seems violence may be the only way to change that. Roth’s cultural worldbuilding is meticulous and intricate, although explanatory passages slow the novel’s pace and names can get confusing. But Roth’s conjuring of religions, belief systems and language differences is well done, and her prose has strengthened with this new series. Diehard Roth fans will be rewarded. —CAT ACREE
WE ARE OKAY By Nina LaCour
CARVE THE MARK By Veronica Roth Katherine Tegen $22.99, 480 pages ISBN 9780062348630 Audio, eBook available Ages 14 and up
In 2011, 23-year-old Veronica Roth’s debut, Divergent, set the stage for a series that would become a worldwide phenomenon. And while the series is ripe for obsessing, Roth took the story of Tris Prior to a shocking place—a place not every fan wanted to go. This unflinching pursuit of weighted questions carries over to her new duology as Roth considers faith and loyalty within a sci-fi setting. Carve the Mark is set in a solar system where a supreme force called the current flows through all beings, imbuing people with gifts similar to X-Men abilities. The story opens when Akos and his older brother are kidnapped from their peaceful home in Thuvhe, in the northern part of their icy planet, by Shotet soldiers. The Shotet are an unrecognized nation of scavengers and warriors, and as their prisoner, gentle Akos (a win for Hufflepuff heroes) is trained as a soldier and charged with attending to hard-edged Cyra, the sister of the tyrannical Shotet ruler. Their friendship will change them both, but this is a world bound by fate, where kills are marked on the arms
Dutton $17.99, 240 pages ISBN 9780525425892 eBook available Ages 14 and up
In We Are Okay, author Nina LaCour (Everything Leads to You) tells a story more of absence than presence, looking with calm directness at grief and betrayal and the ways they can multiply outward. It’s a beautiful, devastating piece of art. Marin is in school in New York, quietly living a new life and trying to leave behind the life she ran from. Her lonely Christmas break is interrupted by a visit from her best friend (and now ex-girlfriend), Mabel. The truth about the event that caused Marin to leave San Francisco with only what she held in her hands comes out slowly, and her grief in the face of it is cavernous. But notice the details LaCour shines a light on: the perfect yellow bowls Marin bought at a pottery shop, the potted plant thriving and in need of a larger container. If her existence now is sparse, it is not without color, or life. The title hints at a happy ending, but the journey toward it passes through some of the darkest corners of the heart. Be prepared to be gutted—and grateful. We Are Okay is an extraordinary work by an author who keeps redefining and elevating her genre. Readers are lucky to have it. —HEATHER SEGGEL
At the intersection of broke and broken
or immigrants like Ibi Zoboi, the unnerving process of uprooting and arriving in the United States “feels as though you’ve been transported to a different planet.” With her powerful debut novel for teens, Zoboi’s mission was to write not only about changing cultures, but also about the experience of moving “from one broken place to another.”
American Street starts with a heartbreaking scene: While on her way from Haiti to live with relatives in Detroit, narrator Fabiola Toussaint is separated from her mother while going through Customs at Kennedy Airport in New York. Fabiola, an American citizen by birth, is forced to fly alone to Detroit, while her mother is detained in New Jersey by U.S. Immigration. As a child, Zoboi lived through a similar experience. Born in Port-auPrince, Haiti, she and her mother moved to the Bushwick area of Brooklyn when Zoboi was 4. She recalls the move as a “tragic shift” marked by the shock of leaving a place full of family for an apartment defined by loneliness. “It was winter,” Zoboi says, speaking by phone from her home in Brooklyn, “and my mother [was] gone for long hours to this place called a job. I had TV as my sitter. It defined me as a writer and as a person, that shift.” Four years later, when she and her mother returned to Haiti for a visit, Zoboi was not allowed to
By Ibi Zoboi
Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 336 pages ISBN 9780062473042, audio, eBook available Ages 14 and up
return to America. “I didn’t know anything about Haitian culture, and I wasn’t allowed to go back home,” Zoboi says. “I was separated for three months and stayed with relatives. My mother worked tirelessly to get me back.” As the novel unfolds, Fabiola is thrust into the Detroit household of her aunt and three teenage cousins, while the fate of her mother remains unknown. Fabiola experiences her first snowfall and begins classes in a Catholic school that resembles a haunted castle, and it isn’t long before she realizes that she felt safer in Haiti than she does in America. Since the dangerous, desolate Bushwick neighborhood she knew as a child has been revitalized, Zoboi wanted to place her characters in a modern-day neighborhood that resembles the one she grew up in. She settled on Detroit, and was delighted to discover a road called American Street. Then, in a case of literary serendipity, she located the ideal spot for Fabiola’s relatives to live. “I’m kind of—not literally— driving down American Street on Google maps and I come across a Joy Road. . . . Where Joy Road and American Street intersect, I see that there are these little shotgun houses very close together, and it hit me right then and there. It’s real: There is an American Street intersection. It was just perfect.” Zoboi hopes to travel to Detroit to see the intersection in person. “I’m going to take a picture of me standing at the crossroads,” she says. Such a photo would be spot-on for a novelist who digs deep into what happens when cultures, nationalities, races and religions collide. Fabiola, who believes in Haitian Vodou and spirit guides, soon has a boyfriend named Kasim,
who has grown up Muslim. Zoboi hopes her portrayal of Fabiola’s religion might help dispel the negative stereotypes many Americans have of the Haitian faith. “I’m really passionate about faith in young adult literature, whatever the faith is,” Zoboi says. “That’s who I was as a teenager, looking for some sort of faith, or some otherness. I think a lot of teenagers grapple with that, and I don’t see enough in YA.” Fabiola is drawn to Kasim’s sweet, gentle ways, but worries about his close ties to her cousin’s boyfriend, a reported drug “A reader dealer with a violent temper. who doesn’t Eventually, understand she’s forced the difference to make an impossible and between cultures will life-changing choice between see these her loyalty to Kasim and to girls as just her family. black girls. Fabiola But there is a and Kasim’s huge cultural relationship was loosely difference.” inspired by real-life headlines: When 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot in 2012, he had been on the phone with a Haitian girl. Whether speaking of Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend or Fabiola and her American cousins, Zoboi notes, “A reader who doesn’t understand the differences between cultures will see these girls as just black girls. But there is a huge cultural difference.” Zoboi grew up living this cultural divide. Her fifth-grade teachers looked at her bright Haitian clothes
© JOSEPH ZOBOI
INTERVIEW BY ALICE CARY
and wrongly assumed she couldn’t speak English. They placed her in an English as a Second Language course, where she felt “invisible.” After studying investigative journalism in college and working at a weekly paper, Zoboi finally felt “seen” when she took to the stage at poetry slams in New York City, becoming part of the spoken word movement. She quit her newspaper job to work in a bookstore, and began taking creative writing courses, eventually earning an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Zoboi’s transformation from fearful immigrant girl to adult writer with a vivid, resonating voice extends even to her name. As a girl, she was called Pascale Philantrope, but as an adult, she changed her name. She chose “Ibi,” Yoruba for “rebirth,” which she felt was a close translation of Pascale, a name tied to Easter. Her new last name comes from husband Joseph Zoboi, a visual artist and educator with whom she has three children, ages 9, 12 and 14. Filled with precise, hard-edged descriptions, American Street weaves together elements of faith, family, loyalty, race, violence, trauma, American dreams and failures—all bound together in a riveting, tragic tale.
reviews T PI OP CK
TRAIN I RIDE
Miles to go to heal a heart REVIEW BY HANNAH LAMB
Paul Mosier’s debut middle grade venture is luminous and heartrending, populated by poetry, sharp wit and wonderfully original characters with voices that sing from the pages and pierce your very bones. Twelve-year-old Rydr boards an Amtrak train in California, the start of a three-day journey that will take her to her new home in Chicago, where she will live with a distant relative she’s never met. Rydr hopes this journey will help her forget about her past and erase the pain that comes with those memories. Little does she know that this trip will have the exact opposite effect, forcing her to confront those scars head-on. But she doesn’t have to brave this experience alone. Accompanied by a cast of eccentric, lovable characters, Rydr will learn how to come to terms with the events that have brought her to this point, how By Paul Mosier to let her guard down and let people in and, perhaps the most importHarperCollins, $16.99, 192 pages ant lesson of all, how to let herself feel, whether those feelings are good ISBN 9780062455734, eBook available or bad. Ages 8 to 12 Though this book may be marketed for middle school readers, Train MIDDLE GRADE I Ride is steeped in such genuine feeling and depth that it can be enjoyed and related to by anyone, of any age. Mosier strikes the perfect key, never straying into territory too verbose or too spare, but finding the right balance between the two. This is an extremely well-written and thoughtful story from a stellar voice in middle grade literature and beyond.
BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB By Annie Silvestro Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss Doubleday $17.99, 40 pages ISBN 9780553537581 eBook available Ages 3 to 7
When winter comes, book-loving Bunny can no longer eavesdrop on the library’s outdoor story time. To feed his insatiable need for books, Bunny squeezes through the book-return drop at the library. When Bunny’s secreted stash of books starts a trend, several critter friends become regulars at the book drop—until they are discovered by the librarian. But if anybody understands the need to read, wouldn’t it be a librarian? Author Annie Silvestro and illustrator Tatjana Mai-Wyss tell a cozy tale guaranteed to draw in readers and book lovers of all ages. Every
page bursts with details, which will keep little eyes amused. Moths flutter in the beam of the flashlight, Bunny’s bunny slippers wait next to his bed, and carrot cupcakes are a burrow staple. Fabrics and books and woodland flora are elaborately sketched, creating a realistic, familiar world. Silvestro’s text is full of alliteration and description, and the forest creature dialogue rings with kid-friendly humor. Bunny’s Book Club will prove worthy of story times large and small. —J I L L L O R E N Z I N I
MOUSE AND HIPPO By Mike Twohy
Paula Wiseman $17.99, 32 pages ISBN 9781481451246 eBook available Ages 4 to 8
Great friendships come along when we least expect them, and
Hippo become fast, if unlikely, friends. They work together to fit Mouse’s portrait inside his mousesized house. Mouse invites Hippo to visit his painting any time, and though Hippo can only peer in with one large eyeball, the new friendship is sure to last well beyond the pages of this clever book. Twohy’s zany humor is a rare treat. His beguiling characters burst with so much personality that readers will long for a sequel. —BILLIE B. LITTLE
LOVING VS. VIRGINIA By Patricia Hruby Powell Illustrated by Shadra Strickland
Chronicle $21.99, 260 pages ISBN 9781452125909 Audio, eBook available Ages 8 to 12
Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter just want to hold hands without drawing stares, be married and raise their children in their home state of Virginia. “What is so diffithis is especially true in Mouse and cult about that?” Richard asks in Hippo, New Yorker cartoonist Mike Loving vs. Virginia, Patricia Hruby Twohy’s hilarious tale of a chance Powell’s novel about the real-life encounter on a summer afternoon. couple’s groundbreaking civil rights Meticulous Mouse is focused case. Told in free verse, it alternates on getting the waves just right as between the voices of Mildred, who he paints at the lake, easel atop a is black and Native American, and gray rock. But, oops! The rock is Richard, who is white. actually Hippo, who accidentally Their story opens in 1952, when jolts Mouse into the water. Hippo the two youths and their families rescues him, and in thanks, Mouse shared meals in Central Point, a ruoffers to paint his portrait. Hippo ral town that was more integrated preens and poses while Mouse uses than the rest of the state of Virginia, his biggest brush—and paints the where miscegenation laws still whole canvas gray. “My paper was ruled. While Mildred and Richard’s too small to fit all of you in,” Mouse affection for one another came easexplains. But Hippo is far from ily, their courtship met with racism. disappointed, and he rushes home And when pregnancy prompted to hang the monochrome masterthe pair to marry in 1958, they were piece over his bathtub (or rather, forced to drive to Washington, D.C., a reedy nook of the lake). When where they could be legally wed. Hippo returns the favor by paintAfter returning to Virginia, the ing a portrait of Mouse, he uses newlyweds were arrested and senthe tiniest brush, and the finished tenced to expulsion from Virginia painting is a carefully crafted dot. for 25 years. The heartfelt novel “I love it!” Mouse says. “You made describes the sadness, fear and me look so cute!” prejudice that invaded their lives With their appreciation for each until their case went before the Suother’s point of view, Mouse and preme Court and was overturned
unanimously in 1967. Interspersed period photographs, quotes and historical facts add greater impact to the Lovings’ personal story and legal challenges, which paved the way for interracial marriage throughout the country. Above all, the Lovings live up to their name as Powell describes their romance and dedication as much as their role in history. —ANGELA LEEPER
meet JOREY HURLEY LINCOLN ELSE
CHILDREN’S about for many years to come. —J E N N I F E R B R U E R K I T C H E L
UNDEFEATED By Steve Sheinkin Roaring Brook $19.99, 288 pages ISBN 9781596439542 Audio, eBook available Ages 10 to 14
ME AND MARVIN GARDENS By Amy Sarig King Arthur A. Levine $16.99, 256 pages ISBN 9780545870740 eBook available Ages 8 to 12
Dystopian stories about how Earth’s environment will be unlivable in the future are plentiful. Chapter books for young people about what we can do now are few. Carl Hiaasen and Louis Sachar have successfully broached the topic, and now Amy Sarig King’s latest book, Me and Marvin Gardens, joins the list. Told from 11-year-old Obe Devlin’s point of view, the story is immediately accessible as readers are drawn into his world. We understand Obe’s anguish as he watches the fields he played in become new housing developments. We sympathize with his efforts to keep the trash out of the little creek that still runs through his family’s property. When Obe discovers a strange new creature that eats plastic (he names him Marvin Gardens), we know that he and his best friend, Annie Bell, will find a way to share the secret, even if they are not sure of that themselves. King (who writes award-winning young adult books as A.S. King) captures the heart of a young boy without making the prose too simplistic. Obe is a sophisticated storyteller but still a believable sixth-grader. Readers will find many interesting themes in this story—some subtle and some not so much—to discuss and wonder
Three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin’s Undefeated charts the rise of Jim Thorpe, Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon and All-American fullback for the Carlisle Indians, one of the most innovative football teams ever to take the field. Despite its focus, readers need not be sports fans to enjoy this book. As a Native American man born in 1888, racism was a constant in Thorpe’s life, but it’s because of this daily prejudice that Thorpe first set foot on a football field. At the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a boarding school that was created to “kill the Indian, and save the man,” Thorpe encountered the game that he and his Carlisle teammates would come to redefine. In those days, football was a hybrid of rugby and bare-knuckle boxing. Guided by Coach Pop Warner— inventor of the reverse, the single wing and a multitude of other plays and formations—Carlisle did more than any team to move football away from its brutal origins. Warner ran a “whirlwind offense” that pitted the Carlisle players’ speed and agility against the bone-crushing brawn of America’s sporting elites: Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale. Along with redefining how the game was played, Carlisle’s emergence as a football powerhouse forced the nation to face what was then an uncomfortable and controversial truth: Given a level playing field, Native Americans could compete with anyone—America’s most privileged sons included. —J O N L I T T L E
Visit BookPage.com to read a Q&A with Steve Sheinkin.
RIBBIT Young readers will dip their toes into the watery world of frogs in the latest picture book from Jorey Hurley, Ribbit (Paula Wiseman, $16.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781481432740, ages 3 to 7). Minimal text and vibrant illustrations reveal unseen moments, from a tadpole’s transformation to a full-grown frog’s life of dragonflies, lily pads and hungry herons. Hurley lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.
BY THE EDITORS OF MERRIAM-WEBSTER
Dear Editor: Why are conservatives called Tories, especially in England? I. P. Rochester, New York In the 17th century, many Irish people had their property taken from them by the English. Some of these dispossessed Irish came to live as outlaws, plundering English settlements and robbing English soldiers. Such an outlaw was called by the Gaelic word tóraidhe, meaning “one who is pursued” and “robber.” In English, the word was shortened to Tory and in the late 1600s used for those who opposed the attempt to have James, Duke of York (later King James II), excluded from succession to the throne. Thereafter, Tory became the name of the conservative political party in England, who strongly supported the authority of the monarch. The party took the name
of Conservative formally, but Tory is still used as a colloquial term. During the American Revolution, Tory was used for an American who supported British authority rather than independence.
RAISED EYEBROWS Dear Editor: My 5-year-old daughter is a big fan of the Disney Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and now her favorite word is supercilious, as in “That supercilious scoundrel confiscated my honey!” At first she thought it was “super silliest,” which made more sense to a 5-year-old. Can you tell us anything about the word supercilious? C. R. New Smyrna, Florida The use of supercilious, with its sibilant sounds, was an apt choice for the character of Gopher to describe Rabbit, who was a bit stuffy (as well as stuffed, being a stuffed animal). Anyone who has
ever been on the receiving end of disapprovingly raised eyebrows will have no trouble understanding the etymology of supercilious. The Latin word for eyebrow was supercilium, formed from super-, meaning “above, over” and cilium, meaning “eyelid.” The raising of the eyebrows to express an attitude of haughty disdain was evidently as well known in ancient times as it is now, inasmuch as Latin supercilium was also used figuratively to mean haughtiness and disdainful superiority. The derivative adjective in Latin was superciliosus, which was adopted in English as supercilious in the 16th century.
ROOM WITH A VIEW Dear Editor: Where does the word gazebo come from? H. G. Columbus, Georgia
coined as a combination of the word gaze and the Latin ending -ebo that is found in Latin words such as videbo, meaning “I shall see.” The word gazebo was originally used for a structure on a house that provided a view, such as a cupola or turret, or to some larger structure designed to command a view. Another name for such a structure is belvedere, and the word’s etymology likewise implies overlooking a view. Belvedere derives from two Italian words, bel, which means “beautiful,” and vedere, which means “view.” The first known use of belvedere in print dates to the late 1500s, making it approximately 150 years older than gazebo. The earliest known uses of gazebo appeared in the mid-1700s. Send correspondence regarding Word Nook to:
The origin of gazebo is uncertain. Etymologists posit that it was
Language Research Service P.O. Box 281 Springfield, MA 01102
Test Your Mental Mettle with Puzzles from 417 More Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young
DROP A LETTER AND SCRAMBLE This game starts with a word.Your job is to drop one letter, then rearrange the remaining letters to form another word. A brief hint for the new word is provided.
1. Bell, Fable, Pamper
6. Guest, Suite, Built
What some fortune tellers read.
2. Mail, Mingle, Racket
7. Aimed, Pouch, Swine
Shakespeare was one.
8. Irate, Wolf, Coal
Betelgeuse . . . or the sun.
3. Cookie, Peach, Thyme
Beef or chicken.
4. BREAD 5. ASTER
An umpire’s call.
A tall story.
One way to go.
Done with excessive speed and insufficient consideration. The Thinker . . . or Lady Liberty.
DROP A LETTER AND SCRAMBLE 4. Bard 5. Star 6. Safe
7. Tale 8. East 9. Thaw
10. Palm 11. Bare 12. Diner
13. Hasty 14. Statue
9. Leaf, Brain, Crafty
4. Snarled, Blue, Terms 5. Flight, Dense, Boot ANSWERS
What sprinters do.
1. Race 2. Meat 3. Rash
Change the first letter of the three words in each list to create three new words that all start with the same letter. For example, given the words whine, plant, and reason, what one letter can replace the first letter of each word to make three new words? The answer is S—shine, slant, and season.
What spring brings after a cold winter.
change a letter
10. Gasp, Traps, Shopper
CHANGE A LETTER 1. C—Cell, Cable, Camper 2. J—Jail, Jingle, Jacket 3. R—Rookie, Reach, Rhyme 4. G—Gnarled, Glue, Germs
5. S—Slight, Sense, Soot 6. Q—Quest, Quite, Quilt 7. T—Timed, Touch, Twine 8. G—Grate, Golf, Goal
9. D—Deaf, Drain, Drafty 10. W—Wasp, Wraps, Whopper
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